New Analysis Finds People of Color and Immigrants are Disproportionately Harmed by Labor-Market Impacts of COVID-19

Dear Atlas Users,

The brutal murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police was a stark reminder of the racism that permeates our institutions, threatens Black life, and diminishes us as a nation. We cannot achieve inclusive prosperity without addressing police brutality, and the Atlas team stands in solidarity with those protesting this unjust system and calling for transformative change. We are working hard to finalize the new Atlas system upgrade to share with you later this month, and have been partnering with other data providers to assess the unequal economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by race, gender, nativity, and occupation. Here are a few highlights:

New Analysis: Disaggregated Data on Economic Impacts of COVID-19 for US and 10 Metros

Today, in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies and JPMorgan Chase, we released the most comprehensive analysis to date of the labor market effects of the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to inform equity-focused relief and recovery strategies. In addition to the US, we analyzed 10 metro regions: Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco, and Seattle. Our analysis reveals that people of color and immigrants are concentrated in occupations that have experienced the steepest declines in job opportunities and will likely be among the last to recover, putting Black, Latinx, and Native American workers at heightened risk of long-term unemployment. People of color are also overrepresented in low-wage essential jobs, and Native Americans and immigrants are most concentrated in essential jobs where opportunities are declining. Among the 10 regions, the economic impacts of the virus are uneven: metros with large tourism sectors (like Nashville and Miami) have been hit particularly hard, while diversified regional economies with strong tech sectors (like Seattle and SF) have fared somewhat better. Read the full analysis here.

New Profile of Bay Area Essential Workers

In May, the Bay Area Equity Atlas released three new analyses focused on frontline workers in the region, including two deep dives into workforce demographics in Sonoma and Santa Clara counties. We found that frontline workers in these counties and the Bay overall are disproportionately Latinx, Black, and women of color, which could help explain why these populations are more likely to contract COVID-19. Latinx workers represent 22 percent of workers in all industries but 31 percent of frontline workers while Black workers, who account for just 5 percent of all workers in the region, are concentrated in specific frontline industries including public transit (23 percent) and postal services (11 percent). These workers are more likely to live in poverty, lack health insurance, and have no internet access at home. Read our analyses here. Check out media coverage of this research from KQEDSF Gate, and La Opinion.

National Equity Atlas In the News

  • Ron Brownstein at The Atlantic analyzed National Equity Atlas data and corresponded with Atlas team members to inform his new article about how racial inequity is “the crack in the foundation of cities’ new prosperity.” Looking at data on median wages for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis, he found that racial wage gaps have grown in all of those cities between 1980 and 2015.
  • E&E News published an article describing the criticism and subsequent revision of CDC guidelines encouraging workers to commute alone in private vehicles to slow the spread of the coronavirus, lifting up Atlas data showing that nearly 20 percent of Black households and 12 percent of Latinx households do not have access to a car, compared to 6.5 percent of White households. "So yes, there is a race and class bias in saying, 'You can just drive to work,'" said Basav Sen, climate justice project director at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Thank you for your interest in our work.

-- The National Equity Atlas team at PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE)


Sarah Treuhaft
Sarah Treuhaft