Men took bigger jobs hit in pandemic, ECB study finds

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Men suffered bigger jobs losses across the euro zone during the COVID-19 pandemic, a European Central Bank study found on Wednesday, confounding some earlier predictions that women would take a bigger hit as they are overrepresented in the most affected sectors.

Men accounted for more than 60% of the jobs losses last year, while in terms of hours worked they suffered more than two-thirds of the overall drop, the ECB said in an Economic Bulletin article.

With women heavily represented in the leisure and hospitality sector, some economists and even ECB officials warned that women were at risk of losing more, but the study suggests that women found new work more easily then men.

“Employment losses between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2020 were mainly concentrated in the wholesale and retail trade and transportation sectors for men and in the recreation and personal services sectors for women,” the ECB said.

“Conversely, the employment gains in public administration and in education were tilted towards female workers,” the ECB added.

While underemployment has been historically higher for women, the gap narrowed somewhat by the end of 2020, the ECB added.

File photo by EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL