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Latinas among those hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses

Meghan McCarty Carino May 14, 2020
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One in five Latinas are now unemployed. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Latinas among those hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses

Meghan McCarty Carino May 14, 2020
Heard on:
One in five Latinas are now unemployed. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The devastation of the pandemic has cut deep and wide across the economy. Some of the worst job losses so far are among Latinas.

That’s because some of the hardest hit sectors of the economy are dominated by women, and particularly Latinas. Hospitality, retail and health care have all seen big job losses that have left Latinas vulnerable, says Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute.

“The unemployment rate for Hispanic women sits at 20.2%,” Gould said. “That’s 1 in 5 Hispanic women are now unemployed.”

That demographic saw the biggest jump in unemployment of any racial or ethnic group over the last two months, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That devastation is compounded by the fact that Latinas were already behind before the pandemic said Agatha So, a policy analyst with the nonprofit UnidosUS.

“Latinas have lower earnings, almost 50% less than white men and 31% less than white women,” So said.

She said Latina mothers are also more likely to be the sole breadwinners for their families.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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