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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Health care jobs held by women have come back much more slowly than jobs held by men, mirroring trends in the economy overall.

Why it matters: The vast majority of health care workers infected with COVID-19 have been women, and they've borne the brunt of the industry's economic woes, too.

Reproduced from an Altarum report; Chart: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: Women outnumber men in the health care workforce, but they've suffered steeper job losses because of the pandemic.

  • 79% of health care jobs held by men have returned to the workforce, compared to only 62% for women, according to a recent report from Altarum.
  • Nurses, nursing assistants and medical assistants lost their jobs in large numbers early in the pandemic, due to the freeze on elective procedures.
  • And while most of the industry added jobs in the last quarter of 2020, jobs in nursing homes and residential care facilities — which are disproportionately held by women — haven't returned.

"That’s really moving from a short-term pandemic impact to a long-term economic impact," said Corwin Rhyan, a co-author of the Altarum report.

  • "The longer that anyone is detached from the labor force and remain unemployed, the more likely that is to have long-term impacts on their future employment and their future earnings potential," he said.

Between the lines: School closures and a lack of safe child-care options have made it much harder for mothers to reenter the workforce, whether they work in health care or not.

  • "We see moms experiencing significant wage hits just for being moms and moms of color experiencing the most significant wage hits," said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director at MomsRising.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.

California to remove word "alien" from state laws

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a September news conference in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

California is removing the word "alien" from its state laws and replacing it with words such as "noncitizen" and "immigrant," Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced.

Why it matters: The word "alien" began to be used in the 1990s "as a political dog whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using traditionally racist language," per a statement from Newsom's office.

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