Americans who earn the least are bearing the brunt of the layoffs that have left millions out of work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Employees earning less than $20 per hour were 115% more likely than those making $30 an hour or more to be laid off, according to an analysis of payroll data by Gusto, an online platform that enables small businesses across the U.S. to pay and provide benefits to their workers.
Young people have also been particularly hard hit, with those under 25 experiencing a 93% higher rate of job loss than their peers who are 35 and older.
"Those who can least afford to be laid off are being hit the hardest because of COVID-19’s economic impact,'' says Daniel Sternberg, head of data science at Gusto. "Many low-income employees, young workers, and businesses based in low-income areas ... have been left reeling from loss of jobs and wages, and need help now.''
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But the Gusto analysis reveals how class and age are intersecting with the crisis, leaving some segments of the country much more vulnerable to the fall out.
Restaurants, stores and many other service businesses across the country were forced to close amid statewide stay-at-home mandates and plunging revenue, leaving their often low-wage employees out of work. Young people also disproportionately fill lower-wage jobs.
And those who work for businesses in lower-income neighborhoods are 25% more likely to have lost their jobs than those who work in more affluent communities, Gusto's research found.
Millennials who saw their financial futures stunted during the Great Recession, along with their younger peers who make up Generation Z, may not be able to recover from the current financial crisis.
"We may potentially see not one, but two back-to-back generations facing severe hardship and denied access to the financial security of generations past,'' says Sternberg.
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