For the sake of my kids: I quit

The Employment Situation Summary for December will be released on Friday, January 7, 2021, and will allow us to analyze a full calendar year of employment changes during the pandemic. Many will be looking to see how women’s unemployment and labor force participation rates have changed.  December’s numbers may also provide a benchmark for the effects of the Omicron variant on the labor market.    

Mother Nature did what school officials are reluctant to do – extended winter break.  Snow in the  Richmond metropolitan area, north on I-95, to Maryland kept schools for additional days.

Is it too soon to mention I-95? 🙂

Teachers in Chicago voted for virtual instruction in response to increasing cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.  Chicago School Officials responded by closing schools.  Talk about expendable – teachers and education.

Today, Claudia Sahm addressed data-driven decisions about in-person education and the Omicron variant in her blog.  I encourage you to read it.

If more schools go to virtual learning, we will surely hear about the unfair burden for women.  It is unlikely they will correctly say, mothers.  

So what does the data tell us about households with children and employment? 

First, when controlling for marital status, a higher share of women reported leaving a job to care for children.  

Education and marital status matter

Second, the experience of women within and across racial groups differs.  Marital status, education, and the age of the child influence if a woman reported leaving a job to care for a child.  For Asian women, married and never-married women have a similar experience for children under 12.  A higher share of never-married women without a high school diploma reported leaving a job to care for a child.

A higher share of never-married Black women without a bachelor’s degree reported leaving a job to care for a child. For white women, married women were more likely to report leaving a job to care for a child.

The percentage of Hispanics never married or married women who reported leaving a job to care for a child under 12 was similar.  Also, a higher share of Hispanic women with a college degree reported leaving a position to care for a child. 

These tables show that family structure and education may influence a women’s decision to leave a labor market to care for a child. 

We must find a way to center the education of children that makes teachers and parents feel valued and heard.

I am wishing you a happy first week of 2022!