Discussion paper

The health response to COVID-19 has resulted in large increases in measured unemployment and underemployment as well as large falls in the total number of hours worked. While the size of these labour market effects has been widely discussed, the gender distribution of these impacts has not.

While an examination of the male/female employment share of the industries that have been hardest hit by the health response to COVID-19 suggests that men should account for a disproportionate amount of job losses, in fact women have have seen faster job losses than men.

Despite the fact that women have borne a disproportionate share of the recent increase in unemployment the stimulus measures announced to date have tended to disadvantage casuals (where women are overrepresented) and been focused on specific industries such as construction (where women are underrepresented).

In order to examine the likely impact of different stimulus measures on men and women, this paper provides male and female employment multipliers for each industry.

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