You might have seen those headlines over the past 24 hours talking about how all 140,000 jobs lost in the United States last month belonged to women. “The U.S. Economy Lost 140,000 Jobs in December,” read CNN. “All of them were held by women.” Fortune framed the news similarly: “Women Accounted for 100% of the 140,000 Jobs Shed by the U.S. Economy in December.”
While that’s certainly true, framing those losses as losses for “women” as a whole doesn’t tell the full story. When further broken down by race and ethnicity, the National Women’s Law Center data behind the news cycle reveals that white women, like men, actually gained jobs in December, meaning that all of those tens of thousands of jobs lost last month were held by women of color.
As reported by CNN, Black women and Latinas lost jobs in December, while white women made “significant gains” in the job market. That doesn’t mean that no white women lost employment last month, just like it doesn’t mean that no men suffered job losses in recent weeks. What it means is that white women as a whole gained more jobs than they lost in December, while Black women and Latinas lost more than they gained.
This disparity in job losses reflects broader trends in American women’s employment, CNN adds. Black women and Latinas are disproportionately employed in industries that have been hardest by the pandemic’s economic downturn, ones that tend to lack things like remote work policies and paid sick leave. Latinas and Black women also have the highest unemployment rates among all women in the country (9.1% and 8.4%, respectively), while white women have the lowest (5.7%).