Millions of Americans lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one key demographic may remain home even after the quarantine ends: women. Since the start of the pandemic, women have been leaving at a rate 4 times greater than their male counterparts. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 617,000 women left the workforce in September 2020, compared to 78,000 men. This great disparity isn’t just a consequence of gender inequality in the workplace. It’s a result of the forced division of labor between men and women in nuclear families, pressuring women with children and other family obligations to prioritize the needs of others over their own professional fulfillment.
“Factories with Fences” and “American Made” boasts UNICOR. Better known as the Federal Prison Industries program, UNICOR makes nearly half a billion dollars in net sales annually using prison labor, paying inmates between 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. Despite already earning one-sixth of the federal minimum wage, inmates with final obligations must contribute half of their earnings to cover those expenses. UNICOR, in addition to other government-owned corporations and private prisons, makes millions upon millions of dollars using nearly free prison labor.
About a year ago, I wrote this article about why the Fed was raising rates in trying to engineer a soft landing. The objective was to prevent an overheated economy and high inflation rates, given the record unemployment levels among other things. The theory goes that tight labor markets lead to wage growth. Wage growth leads to high inflation. Raising rates might prevent that. This was the sentiment at the Fed over a year ago.