Sunday, May 30, 2021

Low-Wage Workers Hit The Hardest By Pandemic Recession

The charts above are from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). They show that the industry impacted the most by the pandemic recession was the Leisure & Hospitality industry. And this industry hires a lot of low-wage workers (especially women and minorities) -- making those workers the hardest hit.

Here is part of what the EPI had to say:

In February 2021, a year into the pandemic recession, the U.S. economy remained down 9.5 million jobs from February 2020, the last month before the economic effect of COVID-19 began. Repairing employment levels requires more than regaining those 9.5 million lost jobs; we must also consider how many jobs would have been created since February 2020. During the 12 months prior to the pandemic recession, job growth averaged 202,000 new jobs per month. Absent the COVID-19-driven recession, an estimated 2.4 million additional jobs could have been created. Adding these to the actual job losses since February 2020 implies that the U.S. labor market in February 2021 was short 11.9 million jobs. . . .

  • Between February 2020 and February 2021, employment losses were largest among workers in the leisure and hospitality, government, and education and health services industries. Even with a partial bounceback last summer after losing more than 8 million jobs last spring, the leisure and hospitality sector still faces the largest shortfall, with nearly 3.5 million fewer jobs in February 2021 than a year prior.
  • Within the worst-hit sectors, workers in the lowest average wage and lowest average hour occupations were hit the worst and remain most damaged a year later. While aggregate output data (for example, gross domestic product) appears to have rebounded significantly by February 2021, the “output gap”—the difference between actual and potential economic output—that remains represents a far greater share of jobs because the still-jobless workers in the economy previously worked in some of the most disadvantaged sectors in terms of wages and weekly hours.
  • Within the hardest-hit sector, leisure and hospitality, Black women, Hispanic women, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (both men and women) saw disproportionate losses. Occupational segregation—the fact that these workers are less likely to be found in higher-paid management professions, even within leisure and hospitality—exposed them to the worst of the job losses.

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