Among the report’s scariest signs? The share of Americans working or looking for work, known as the labor-force participation rate, declined among prime working ages (25-54) in September.
The drop was driven by plunging participation rates among women, just as the school year went into full swing in much of the country.
Of the nearly 1.1 million people who stopped working, or looking for work, in September, almost 80 percent were women. Many economists say it’s a clear sign of the child-care burden falling mainly on working mothers.
Mothers like April Smith are facing impossible decisions, as they must choose between earning money during an unprecedented economic crisis, and staying home to shepherd their children through chaotic virtual classes.
Smith, 31, is a single mother of three kids in school. She lost her restaurant job in Louisiana in March and later learned it was a permanent layoff: the restaurant won’t