Our Chicago: Women rejoining workforce, college graduates seeking jobs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As people begin to return to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic, American women and recent college graduates are expected to play a big role in helping with the country's economic recovery.

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It could take more than two years for women's employment to return to the same levels as before COVID-19, according to National Women's Law Center.



Millions of American women left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons varied. Some lost their jobs, others had to stay home to care for their children. According to the National Women's Law Center, the women's workforce participation rate is at 57%, the lowest it's been in 33 years. U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said if the country is going to have a strong, equitable economic recovery from the pandemic, "we need to get women back into the workforce."

"It is vital to have women back in the workforce. In September of 2020, McKinsey published a report stating that more than one in four women were contemplating what many would have consider unthinkable just six months ago, which was downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely," said Colleen Reaney, director of the Executive and Professional Education Center at Loyola University.

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Hiring is expected to rise 7.2% and nearly 30% of companies expect to hear recent graduates, accoridng to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.



At the same time, college graduates from around the country are now looking for that first job, hoping to start a career in the field of their choice. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies expect to hire 7.2% more college graduates this year than they did from the class of 2020.

"Many employers are declaring that they will be hiring a lot of college grads this year, and overall, the picture for employment and employment gains in the U.S. is quite bright," said Jim McCoy, senior vice president, talent solutions at Manpower Group.
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