October 2021

Women's Labor Force Exits during COVID-19: Differences by Motherhood, Race, and Ethnicity

Katherine Lim and Mike Zabek

Abstract:

In this paper, we study declines in women’s labor force participation by race and ethnicity as well as the presence of children. We find that increases in labor force exits were larger for Black women, Latinas, and women living with children. In particular, we find larger increases in pandemic-era labor force exits among women living with children under age 6 and among lower-earning women living with school-age children after controlling for detailed job and demographic characteristics. Latinas and Black women also had larger increases in labor force exits during the pandemic relative to White women. Differences in the presence of children and household structure explain one-quarter of the excess labor force exits among women of color.

Keywords: Women, Labor Force Participation, Race, Ethnicity, Labor Supply, COVID-19

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2021.067

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: October 18, 2021