ORLANDO, Fla. – The pandemic recession has disproportionately hurt women as Florida gains most of its jobs lost.

What You Need To Know

  • Women in the workforce disproportionately impacted by pandemic

  • Childcare needs were a main reason why

  • Florida gained 92% of jobs lost in beginning of pandemic, according to CareerSource Central Florida

The state has gained 92% of the 1.6 million jobs lost from February to April 2020, according to data from CareerSource Central Florida. The regional program reported providing career services to over 80,000 people since the start of the pandemic, an over 70% increase from the previous year.

Federal Reserve data from the start of the pandemic put the unemployment rate for women at 16.1%, which was 3.5% higher than men. Women shouldering child care needs were a main reason.

For Stephanie Johnson, a former salon owner turned truck driver, fewer customers and heightened supply prices amid the pandemic meant she couldn’t reach her bottom line. “I was then dipping into my own personal money to keep the salon open and that’s when I knew things got real,” she explained.

Johnson looked into the trucking industry upon a former client’s recommendation and sought help from CareerSource Central Florida. She began driving for Werner Enterprises last fall.

Johnson still does hair on the side and sees similarities between hair styling and trucking. “There’s definitely some type of formula you can put together there and oddly enough, that’s kind of the formula for my life right now,” she said.