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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Remote work and remote learning look likely to continue through the end of the year or longer, potentially exacerbating inequalities in the workplace and at schools.

Why it matters: The coronavirus has laid bare how unequal access to technology divides us. And the longer-term implementation of telecommuting could make these issues, which disproportionately harm Black and Hispanic Americans, much worse.

  • Working from home typically calls for access to a computer, internet speedy enough to handle video calls, and space to work without distractions — and there's a clear racial divide when it comes to having these things.

By the numbers: Per a 2019 report from Pew Research Center, 58% of Black adults and 57% of Hispanic adults have a laptop or desktop computer, compared with 82% of white adults.

  • 66% of Black adults and 61% of Hispanic adults have broadband access at home. Among white adults, the share is 79%.
  • According to a recent survey from WayUp, Black and Hispanic job applicants are 145% more likely than their white counterparts to be concerned about their ability to do a job remotely.
  • "Census data shows that Black households have 20% more people and Hispanic households have 80% more people compared to White households, which can result in concerns about background noise, distractions, as well as the basic concern about lack of space," CNBC's Kelsey Johnson reports.

The bottom line: The growing list of companies — led by Silicon Valley tech giants — that are considering extending remote work beyond the end of the pandemic will have to consider how those policies could chip away at diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Go deeper: Second-tier cities vie for telecommuters

Go deeper

Black Americans are more skeptical of a coronavirus vaccine

Data: KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Strikingly large shares of Black Americans say they would be reluctant to get a coronavirus vaccine — even if it was free and had been deemed safe by scientists, according to a new nationwide survey from KFF and The Undefeated.

Why it matters: The findings reflect well-founded distrust of government and health care institutions, and they underscore the need for credible outreach efforts when a vaccine is distributed. Otherwise, distribution could fail to effectively reach the Black community, which has been disproportionately affected by coronavirus.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

More tech companies plan to let workers stay remote post-pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing number of tech companies say workers need not ever come back to the office if they don't want to. The move comes as pandemic-related closures have already kept many tech workers out of the office for months.

Why it matters: Technology's spread into every corner of the broader economy keeps boosting demand for workers with tech skills. That pushes employers to accommodate tech talent wherever they find it.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.