Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > Women filled most of the frontline jobs

Women filled most of the frontline jobs

More than 72,000 Vermonters worked in jobs that are now on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis, providing goods and services that many of the rest of us need as we shelter in place.

Two out of three of these workers were women. Nearly one in three (30 percent) had a child living at home.

These are some of the findings of a new analysis released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C., using data from 2014 to 2018.1 The frontline workers included in the study represent 22 percent of all Vermont workers 16 and older.

Nearly half of Vermont workers are female (49.2 percent). But in the frontline jobs, 66 percent were women. Three out of four jobs in health care were held by women.

The poverty rate for frontline workers, as a group, was 5.7 percent—almost the same as the rate for all workers statewide. However, workers in grocery, convenience, and drug stores had a poverty rate of almost 8 percent. For child care and social service workers, the rate was 7.5 percent. Workers providing building cleaning services had a poverty rate of almost 20 percent.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides federal unemployment benefits to people who can’t work during the pandemic. The temporary federal benefits—$600 a week until the end of July—supplement state unemployment benefits and provide workers with income to feed and house their families while people are being directed to remain in their homes to prevent the spread of the virus.

Vermont lawmakers are currently looking for ways to ensure that essential workers who remain on the job also have adequate income.

  1. The analysis is based on industry classifications, not occupations. Not all workers within a frontline industry are essential, and there are essential workers in industries that are not included in the six “frontline” industries selected by CEPR. However, the CEPR study provides a good indication of the number of people providing essential services during the crisis. []
Posted by Jack Hoffman on April 9, 2020 at 3:42 pm

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