Job market meltdown hits most vulnerable workers hardest

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – As the coronavirus rampaged across the U.S. economy, it slashed a cruel path of job losses, reduced hours and hardships for America’s most vulnerable workers.

The millions of jobs lost in April fell disproportionately on African Americans, Latinos, low-wage workers and people with no college education. Friday’s jobs report from the government — the worst on record — exposed the deep seams of inequality within the world’s wealthiest nation and the threat they pose to an eventual economic recovery.

Immigration Attorney,Esther Valdes, joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss Latino unemployment at record high levels as SBA continues to assist minority owned businesses.

The paradox is that if the economy is to fully bounce back, those same workers will need to be restored to jobs at restaurants, hotels, offices, factories, warehouses, medical facilities and construction sites. The flow of commerce hinges on their ability to deliver packages, cook meals, run clinics, provide public transportation and clean and maintain buildings. And their income, though typically low, supports the consumer spending that fuels most U.S. economic activity.

“This represents a huge loss for the productive capacity of the economy,” said Stephanie Aaronson, director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “The economy is smaller and grows much less quickly when these workers are isolated from employment.”

African Americans are more likely to die from the virus. Latinos and non-college graduates are heavily concentrated in low-wage occupations, including jobs that have helped keep the nation fed and safe during the pandemic. Those groups were also among the first to lose their jobs as the economy crashed at a speed unrivaled in modern American history.

Latinos likely suffered disproportionately from the layoffs because they are more likely to work in the leisure and hospitality sectors — at hotels, restaurants and bars — where job cuts have been especially brutal, noted Gbenga Ajilore, an economist at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

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