The economic impact of coronavirus is hitting women and young people hardest

Women have a high rate of participation in the industries most directly impacted by business closures.

WCCO Radio Newsroom
March 24, 2020 - 5:09 pm
Woman wearing surgical mask for coronavirus isolation

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We are only just beginning to understand the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreaks in Minnesota, but one thing has already become clear from state unemployment data: as businesses close, women and young people are being disportionaly impacted.

“One of the things we have noticed that's been most striking is that the closures have affected women more than men,” Commissioner Steve Grove from the Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner told reporters during a conference call Tuesday.

As Grove explained, women usually make up about 33 percent of unemployment applicants in Minnesota, but between March 16 and March 24, that number jumped up to 63 percent. 

Grove said his department believed the uptick was driven by the high participation of women in the industries most directly impacted by business closures.

Of the 149,443 new applicants for employment Minnesota received in the March 16 though March 24 time period, 48,540 were from workers in the food preparation services industry and 10,844 were from workers in the personal care and service industry, which includes spas and tattoo parlors and hair and nail saloons.

Young people were another group of people that Grove said had been hit hard by the current crisis. Grove said that 32,000 people between the ages of 22 and 29 had applied for unemployment, making them the largest age group of applicants in the most recent window. 

“From an age perspective, we've seen the share of claims shift downward demographically,” he said.

Grove encouraged all Minnestans to help people whose jobs has been lost to due to impact of COVID-19. 

“Minnesotans come together during these times. You can come together and help your friends and neighbors and family members who are applying for unemployment insurance. We would really appreciate that,” he said. 

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