Jun 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Black workers overrepresented in essential work during coronavirus pandemic

Reproduced from Economic Policy Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Economic Policy Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

On a percentage basis more white workers have lost their jobs since February, but that has largely been because black workers in the U.S. are much more likely to work front-line jobs considered essential during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: Black workers make up about one in nine workers overall, but about one in six front-line-industry workers, according to a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

  • "Given the disproportionate representation of black workers in front-line occupations where they face greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, it is not surprising that illness and deaths are disproportionately found among black workers and their families," Valerie Wilson, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, and EPI senior economist Elise Gould write.
  • "African Americans’ share of those who have died from COVID-19 nationally is nearly double (1.8 times higher than) their share of the U.S. population."

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