At one point in early 2019, women outnumbered men in the American workforce. Since February, women have accounted for more than half of all jobs lost due to recession and pandemic, according to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December, women lost more than 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000, creating a net loss of 140,000 jobs for the month all coming from women. In total, women have lost more than a million more jobs than men over the course of the pandemic.

ZipRecruiter labor economic Julia Pollak says “one reason is that this recession has disproportionately affected service sector industries, where women are heavily concentrated.

“But school closures are a major factor, too. Among Americans aged 25-54 (people of prime working age), the decline in labor force participation now exceeds the rise in permanent unemployment. And the fall in participation among mothers alone is larger than the increase in joblessness among all women, as economist Ernie Tedeschi has pointed out,” she adds.

“Women have been crushed,” says WorkingNation president Jane Oates in an interview with WGN’s NewsNation Now. She explains it shouldn’t be a surprise, given the industries being hit the hardest by the economic downturn.

Oates says that over the next year, as the economy starts to recover, there needs to be targeted programs to help get women, particularly women of color and younger women, back into the workforce. “Over a third of (these women) are long-termed unemployed. When you’ve been unemployed long-term—that’s over 27 weeks—it’s really hard to get back into the job market.”

Watch the entire NewsNation Now interview below.

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