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The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a serious blow to the U.S. economy driving the country into another recession. Unemployment numbers spiked and many mortgages were forced into forbearance. While the global impact has been felt on all sides, a study from Zillow revealed that women are more likely to face housing insecurity during the recession, as unemployment claims increased 1,368% year-over-year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic-led recession.
Zillow also revealed women represented 80% of those who dropped out of the labor force last month. This is a strong reversal from the beginning of the year where women had made strong strides in narrowing the gender gap. Year-over-year unemployment claims were 10 times higher for women during the pandemic than what men experienced during the Great Recession, according to Zillow analysis.
"Direct rental assistance and extending unemployment assistance could help women cover housing payment obligations and keep women afloat and in their homes for the time being," said Zillow senior economist Cheryl Young. "However, these are short-term fixes. Longer-term solutions like creating more affordable housing stock, economic policies that assist working parents, and increased voucher availability, are vital to ensuring that housing burdens don't fall disproportionately on women."
Zillow pointed out that home values of female-headed households had been creeping closer to home values overall, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The ratio of women's home values to home values overall is 95.9% as of August 2020, up from 91.9 percent a decade ago, signifying progress has been made. In labor, women were making up a larger share of the workforce and seeing incomes rise, possibly contributing to the increase in home values, according to the report. However, Zillow believes that without interventions, the steady improvements to housing equality could be in jeopardy.