Fed survey finds that job losses have hit poor Americans the hardest

“We are all in this together”, that’s the current rhetoric as far as COVID-19 goes. Celebrities have bombarded people with inspirational songs and messages calling for solidarity seeing as we are all in this together. According to their reasoning, no one is immune to the hardships caused by the pandemic. 

But are we actually all in this together? It does not appear so.

For one, the health effects of COVID-19 seem to be concentrated among certain groups of the population, and so are the economic effects. 

Workers in low-paid sectors as well as small businesses, for example, seem to be primarily getting the short end of the stick in this economic downturn that has been brought on by the shutdowns. A  recent survey held by the Federal Reserve provides more evidence of this phenomenon.

According to the well-being survey, compared to high-income individuals, low-income individuals have suffered the majority of job losses and reductions in income.

Thirteen percent of adults, representing 20 percent of people who had been working in February, reported that they lost a job or were furloughed in March or the beginning of April 2020. These job losses were most severe among workers with lower incomes. Thirty-nine percent of people working in February with a household income below $40,000 reported a job loss in March. Another 6 percent of all adults had their hours reduced or took unpaid leave. Taken together, 19 percent of all adults reported either losing a job or experiencing a reduction in work hours in March.

People with higher levels of education, who particularly earn higher levels of income are likely to work from home. This means that they are less likely to lose their jobs. 

Workers with higher levels of education, particularly bachelor’s degrees, were more likely to work from home. Sixty-three percent of workers with at least a bachelor’s degree worked entirely from home. Among workers with a high school degree or less, 20 percent worked entirely from home, as did 27 percent of workers who have completed some college or an associate degree.

We are not all in this together

Contrary to what the celebrities are saying, no we are not all in this together. Some of us are getting hammered more than others. And unfortunately enough, those who are suffering more happen to be the most vulnerable among us.