Women In Hawaii Hit Harder By Job Loss Than Men

Jun 16, 2020

Women in Hawaii are more likely to have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 recession than male residents, despite equal representation in the workforce.


  Around the world, men are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than women. But women are faring worse when it comes to the ECONOMIC impacts of the pandemic.

Nationwide, women currently account for one-half to two-thirds of current unemployment claims. That includes in Hawaii, where University of Hawaii economists now say 57% of unemployment insurance claims are from women.  

One reason for the disparity is the overrepresentation of female workers in the industries hardest-hit by the pandemic recession. Carl Bonham, Executive Director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, told the State House Select Committee on COIVD-19 Response all industries have been impacted, but some far worse than others.

“The predominate impact is really in accommodations and food service, retail, health and social services.  Outside of health and social services, these industries hire a disproportionate number of part time workers, workers without a college degree, and also women,” Bonham told the panel.

He added that women make up roughly 50 percent of Hawaii’s active labor force.

Analysis from UHERO economists Justin Tyndall and Philip Garboden shows that workers in the food service and accommodations sector have been the worst-affected. They make up 46% of unemployment claims, despite representing only 21 percent of the non-government workforce in Hawaii.

Read the full analysis here.