Single women are hit hard by the recession

There have been a lot of reports about which group of people have been hit hardest by the recession. Men have definitely been hit disproportionately hard by job losses. In fact, men held 71.9% of the jobs lost since the recession began, hurt by mass layoffs in construction and manufacturing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I've even written about how more households are relying on female breadwinners after husbands were laid off.

But single women -- many of whom are mothers or caregivers -- who get laid off don't have a second income to rely on while they hunt for a new job.

Unmarried women who lose their jobs may be more at risk of having to give up their homes, cash out retirement accounts or even end up in homeless shelters. Many of them lack basic health care for themselves and their children and have little access to financial resources that could tide them over until they find a job..

In October 10.3% of unmarried women age 20 and up were unemployed, compared with 5.7% of married women. Single women make up 46.5% of all female workers but account for 60.8% of all women who are unemployed.

Since African-American women are more likely to be single than white women, they are seeing higher unemployment rates. Fifteen percent of African-American unmarried women were jobless in October, compared with 11.1% of unmarried Hispanic women and 9.2% of unmarried white women.

Single men can also end up financially ruined if they lose their jobs.Unmarried men have higher rates of unemployment (14.1%) than married men (6.5%), too. But unmarried men who are fathers may be less likely to live with their kids than unmarried women who are moms.

That may be reflected in the fact that an increasing number of families living in homeless shelters are headed by women. A recent government report, the 2008 Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, showed that the number of homeless families seeking shelter from 2007 to 2008 rose 9% overall, and about 56% in rural and suburban areas.

Most of those families in shelters were headed by young, single mothers with limited education and one or more children. In fact, 81% of sheltered homeless adults in families were female.

Of course single women aren't alone in being hurt by this recession. People of all ages, races and demographic groups have been devastated by job losses, foreclosures and other problems during the economic downturn. How have you been impacted by the recession?
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