Labor participation rates and the pandemic

The Migration Policy Institute reports on employment rates and the effect of the pandemic. Here are the employment rates of men and women, showing immigrant and U.S. born workers. Note that the decline in employment among immigrant women is much steeper than among U.S. born women, but there is not such a discrepancy among men.


Comments on the lower employment rate of immigrant women (Migration Policy Institute).

In part, the lower employment rate is due to their nature of employment. They are concentrated in several leisure and hospitality occupations (such as waitstaff, maids, and housekeepers) that saw the largest job losses in leisure and hospitality. As a result, immigrant women working in that industry had a higher unemployment rate in September than did other workers: 28 percent versus under 20 percent.

In part it is due to children. Immigrant women were less likely to be in the labor force than U.S.-born women in part because they were more likely to have children under age 18 at home and to have competing demands on their time. In January, before the pandemic, 44 percent of working-age immigrant women (ages 25 to 64) had a child at home, compared to 31 percent of U.S.-born women. And immigrant women with children at home historically are less likely to be in the labor force than U.S.-born women with children. In January, 61 percent of immigrant mothers with children participated in the labor force, versus 77 percent of U.S.-born mothers.

As of fall 2020, women with school-age children (ages 5 to 17) had seen the largest declines in labor force participation. Between January and September, the labor force participation rate fell 4.2 percentage points for immigrant women with school-age children, compared with a drop of 1.7 percentage points for those without school-aged children in the home. Among native-born women, participation fell 3.0 percentage points for those with school-age children and 1.6 percentage points for those without. Immigrant women were also more likely to have school-age children than U.S.-born women (26 percent versus 17 percent).

For the report, go here.


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