Last month, the economy showed signs of solid job growth, adding 943,000 jobs to the labor force in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This brings the overall unemployment rate down to 5.4%, lower than the 5.7% rate economists had predicted.

Of the 943,000 jobs added, 68.8% went to women, marking the largest one-month increase in women’s job growth since August 2020, reports the National Women’s Law Center. With women disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the NWLC estimates that women need nearly five straight months of July’s job gains to return to where they were before the pandemic.

“I think this was a blockbuster month, having nearly one million jobs added,” Jasmine Tucker, NWLC’s director of research, tells CNBC Make It. While it’s good to “celebrate all those gains,” Tucker says she’s unsure about whether we will see similar growth in the coming months due to mask mandates and other restrictions being reinstated because of the delta variant.

“I think next month we could see something completely different based on what’s happening right now,” she says while emphasizing that “it will be interesting to see what happens with parents” as the school year starts back up.

Remote Work, Work from home, Resumes

When looking at the overall jobs report for July, women accounted for 53.9% of the job gains in the leisure and hospitality industry, 91.3% of the job gains in government, and all of the job gains in the education and health services sector, according to NWLC’s analysis.

“So, there’s sort of a mixed bag there,” says Tucker. “We tend to think of government jobs as more well-paid jobs with benefits. But, when you think about leisure and hospitality, I think a lot of those are low-quality jobs where people don’t have access to great scheduling, the wages are lower and they don’t always have access to benefits.”

While leisure and hospitality jobs — including those in restaurants, hotels, and other service sectors — tend to help drive the economy, data indicates that workers in these roles could also be impacted the most if restrictions are reinstated that limit dining out, traveling, and leisure activities.

When peeling back the layers of the jobs report, Tucker says you will also see that not all workers are having an equal recovery. While a total of 140,000 men and women rejoined the labor force last month, NWLC reports that 65,000 Black women and 51,000 Latinas left in July.

“We saw a lot of the unemployment numbers come down, which I think signals some good signs as people have come back to the labor force,” explains Tucker. “But for Black women and Latinas, whose unemployment rates also went down, they had large numbers of people leaving the labor force and that’s probably what drove their [unemployment] drop because those people are no longer counted among the unemployed since they aren’t looking for work.”

In July, the overall unemployment rate for women ages 20 and over decreased to 5% from 5.5% in June. The overall unemployment rate for adult men ages 20 and over dipped to 5.4% in July from 5.9% in June.

By comparison, Black women faced an unemployment rate of 7.6% in July, down from 8.5% in June. And Latinas faced an unemployment rate of 6.7% in July, down from 7.9% in June. Black men, who faced the highest unemployment rate of 8.4% in July, likely contributed to men’s overall unemployment numbers being slightly higher than women’s.

“All around, I think there is more to [July’s report] than, ‘Oh, this was a great month for women,’” Tucker says, “because it doesn’t seem like it was that great for everyone.” In fact, she says if we “count the people who’ve left the labor force among the unemployed, unemployment rates for Black women and Latinas would be much higher than 7.6% and 6.7%, [respectively].”

Each day more employers are telling employees they need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to work in person or risk being fired.

On Thursday CNN revealed it had fired three unvaccinated employees for violating the company’s vaccine requirement for in-person workers, according to an internal memo signed by Jeff Zucker, the cable network’s president, and obtained by the New York Times.

Unlike millions of Americans who were laid off during the pandemic, the three former CNN employees likely won’t qualify for unemployment benefits, employment law experts told MarketWatch.

CNN parent company WarnerMedia, a unit of AT&T T, +0.07%, declined to comment on the firings.

In most states, individuals have to prove they’re out of work through no fault of their own to collect unemployment benefits.

“This often means that they are let go due to a lack of work,” said Alana Ackels, a labor and employment lawyer at Bell Nunnally, a Dallas-based law firm.

“Typically, an employee who is terminated for failing to comply with company policies is not eligible for unemployment benefits, which would include refusing to comply with a company’s COVID-19 prevention policies, masking requirements, or vaccine requirements,” Ackels told MarketWatch.

But an employee who has proof of a medical exemption or religious objection to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may still be eligible to collect unemployment benefits if fired, said Rebecca Dixon, executive director at the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit that advocates for worker’s rights.

Otherwise, refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, if your employer requires one, “is akin to an employee’s refusal to submit to permissible drug tests or participate in safety training,” said Ronald Zambrano, employment law chair at West Coast Trial Lawyers, a Los Angeles–based law firm. That is, such an employee, when terminated, would not qualify for unemployment benefits, Zambrano said.

Ultimately, “this could lead to tens of thousands of people across the United States without work or access to unemployment benefits because they refuse to get vaccinated,” Zambrano said.

What if employees quit because they don’t want to get vaccinated?

Quitting over refusal to get vaccinated when an employer requires it appears unlikely to improve one’s chances of securing unemployment payments.

“If you quit because of the mandate then you’d have to have good cause attributable to the employer in order to collect unemployment benefits,” Dixon said. “Good cause is usually viewed from that of a reasonable person. Given the overwhelming evidence of the safety of the vaccine, it’s likely that good cause would not be found” in the case of a person who quits a job because of a vaccine mandate.

That said, state workforce departments can update “eligibility requirements such that, depending on the circumstances, employees fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine could be eligible for unemployment benefits,” Ackles said.

The Department of Labor didn’t respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.

The Texas Workforce Commission, noting that “[e]very unemployment insurance claim is reviewed on a case by case basis” and that “what happens in an unemployment claim is dependent upon the individual facts,” said that an employee “may be eligible for benefits if you were fired for reasons other than misconduct.”

The commission, while noting that most people who quit jobs are deemed ineligible for unemployment compensation, observed that it is possible to qualify if it is demonstrated that they quit “for good cause connected with the work.”

Officials at the commission did not indicate whether any individuals fired from a job for refusing to be vaccinated had qualified for unemployment benefits or whether any employer has been charged, as the commission suggested was possible.

“Businesses concerned about being charged for unemployment benefits should check the latest guidance from their state unemployment commissions to confirm whether an employee fired for refusing the vaccine would be eligible for benefits,” Ackles said.