How has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Married Female Labor Force Participation?



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SARs-CoV-2 and the coronavirus pandemic have left a lasting impact on the United States and the US economy. Many people were laid off or lost their jobs completely because of the nationwide shutdowns. Yet not every demographic was affected equally. Using the monthly Current Population Survey data published by the US Census Bureau from March 2019 through February 2021, I estimate a probit model of the effect of the pandemic on labor force participation of demographic groups divided by gender, marital status, and having children under 18. This is done by comparing monthly data from during the pandemic to the same month exactly one year prior to the pandemic. The model indicates that every demographic, apart from single males with children, was negatively affected by the pandemic during April and May of 2020. This paper further finds that married and single females with children experience significantly lower probabilities of labor force participation in the Fall of 2020 and Winter of 2021, likely due to females taking on greater carework as children stayed home taking remote classes during the beginning of the new school year. Married males with children did not experience this second round of depressed labor force participation, highlighting the potentially gendered effect. Ultimately, this paper finds that although every demographic group was affected by the pandemic, females with children experienced worse negative effects on their probabilities of labor force participation due to their disproportionate burden of childcare.



Economics, Econometrics, Labor Economics