Women are being hit harder than men as unemployment rises, data shows

The effects of the pandemic on the economy are being felt hard. On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week unemployment was up to 965,000 - it's the highest it's been since late August, according to the bureau.

On top of that, the bureau reports in December 140,000 jobs were lost. All of those are reportedly jobs in fields dominated by women, like leisure and hospitality, which are industries that have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic.

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"It was my first time losing my job," said 26-year old Kaeli Rives, who lost her job at a Houston-area engineering firm in October. "COVID-19, among other things, made the market come down."

Now Rives is earning some income with a side gig by refurbishing and selling thrift shop items on Instagram, Prince Vintage.

Rives said she and her fiancé prepared for the possibility if one or both of them lost their job and saved up just in case. She said, "It was scary, but at the same time, it wasn't because we mentally and physically prepared for it."

Other women, who lose their jobs or leave the workforce, are getting creative, said Stephanie Tsuru, who started an open workplace for women called "SheSpace" in the lower Heights. Since the pandemic started she's met women who are doing what they can to make ends meet.

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Tsuru said, "These women, who I see have lost their jobs, furloughed from their jobs, their hours greatly reduced, bounce back and they find other ways to stay busy and support themselves."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports more than two million women have left the workforce in 2020, which Tsuru said is out of necessity for women to help their families at home.

"It does come down to childcare, and women have been affected three to four times as much as men," said Tsuru.

As for Rives, she's actively applying for a new job.

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