MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — More women have left the workforce than men during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to information from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
Data shows that women experienced a historically low unemployment rate in 2019. However, the pandemic more than doubled that number.
“There’s a fresh batch of research that just came out within the last year that talks about women bearing the disproportion burden of caring for kids, maintaining the job, taking care of the house and we could go down the road of gender pay gaps, as well,” said Brian Nottingham, the director of labor market information for the state.
That employment gap is narrowing, according to the state, but data shows that women are still feeling the impact more than men.
For some, school shutdowns led to the decision to put their careers on pause.
“Seeing the field of where I used to work, I’m like, man, I really miss it, but at this point, like a lot of parents, I had to put my students, my children, first,” said Hannah Hamill, who said the demands of virtual school forced her to leave her job.
Reports from SCDEW show that she’s not alone. While the unemployment rate is dramatically lower than it was the previous year, women are still filing unemployment claims at higher rates than men.
Nottingham said that claims are down 48% for men and 52% for women.
“So they’re still a bit heavier, but that gap has closed considerably, which is a good thing,” he said.