ASU researcher: Women disproportionately impacted by economic fallout from COVID-19

Eleven months after the start of shutdowns and social distancing, the economy is starting to show signs of economic recovery. However, one researcher says women may be dealing with the fallout for some time.

Being a single mom has always been tough, but when Elizabeth Newcomb lost her job at a school in Prescott Valley in 2020, it got tougher.

"It’s going to stick us in a really bad spot," Newcomb said. "Really bad spot."

She says many child care centers have closed near her this year, so finding a place for her kids -  if she can find a job - will be near impossible.

"They have waiting lists now that are going into 1 and 2 years," Newcomb said. "That’s too long."

Families have been especially hit hard by the pandemic, according to Professor Nancy Jurik with the ASU School of Social Transformation.

The Department of Economic Security has reported fewer legitimate unemployment claims in recent weeks, and experts have noted signs of a substantial start of a recovery - but not for everyone.

Jurik stressed the service industry has been hit hard and the impact will be long lasting.

"Disproportionately in the service industry, you have women heavily represented," Jurik said.

Child care centers aren't easy to find either. According to advocacy group Zero to Three, only 18% of child care programs are confident they can stay open for a year without public assistance.

So if kids are at home from a lack of day care spots, or after school program closures, Jurik says often that responsibility falls on women.

"A lot of men are trying to do more, but the research is still showing it’s mostly disproportionally falling on women, and so it’s kind of a double whammy that’s coming," Jurik said.

For single parents like Elizabeth, the recovery can seem out of reach.

"I'm a little worried," Newcomb said.

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