▶️ Local unemployment numbers reveal more women out of work

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Deschutes County’s unemployment rate fell slightly last month to 7.5%, but a regional economist said an interesting trend has emerged from the numbers.

Unemployment rates for women are currently 2-3% higher than men, according to Damon Runberg with the Oregon Employment Department.

“A lot of this has to do with occupational employment,” Runberg said. “Women have higher rates of employment in these industries that were really hard hit by lay-offs.”

Those industries include health care, retail, and hospitality.

But there is another factor.

Many women are staying home to handle childcare and remote learning.

This includes Bend resident Candice Anderson, who has not been able to return to work while homeschooling her three sons full time.

“We knew as soon as September hit and school started again that we had to leave our calendar open,” Anderson said. “I had to turn down pretty much all of our client work.”

Anderson and her husband own a house flipping business.

While the family still has one income to rely on, Anderson says she’s afraid it won’t always be enough.

“It hardly covers what we do as a team for our household.”

Anderson says while she’s ready to get back to work, her boys are on individualized education programs and need her help learning from home.

“We’re having to choose between my kids’ educational success and mental health, in our entire family, and money,” Anderson said.

Anderson says by January, she will likely have no choice but to go back to work.

Runberg says we can only hope to see more women re-enter the workforce once kids are physically back in school.

But with so many other factors involved, only time will tell.

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