Data: LaborCUBE; McKinsey Global Institute analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

As many as one-third of U.S. jobs may be vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and it will disproportionately displace low-income workers that do not have the financial cushion to absorb the economic blow.

Why it matters: The dire economic ramifications of the national shut-down stand to devastate those that can least afford it. Nearly 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims in recent weeks.

The latest: According to an analysis by McKinsey Global Institute, up to 86% of the vulnerable jobs paid less than $40,000 a year, and almost all (98%) of at-risk jobs paid less than the national living wage for a family of four ($68,808).

  • Almost 40% of the vulnerable jobs are in small firms with fewer than 100 employees, which are less equipped than big companies to weather the storm.
"It's quite striking how widespread the vulnerability is. This is going to be a workforce disruption larger than any of us have lived through."
— Susan Lund, McKinsey

By the numbers: An estimated 13.4 million vulnerable jobs are in the restaurant industry.

  • Another 11 million vulnerable jobs are in customer service and sales (including 3.9 million retail clerks and 3.3 million cashiers).
  • These are also the job categories likely to pay a median annual wage of less than $30,000, per McKinsey's data.

The potential job carnage spreads far beyond the service industry, affecting builders, transportation services, health aides, mechanics, social workers and some business and legal jobs.

  • "If we have 25 to 30% of people not earning income, it's a huge shock" to the economy, Lund said.

A separate Brookings Institution report found that the workers most vulnerable to job loss are those with a high school diploma or less.

  • "Even in a strong economy with low unemployment, these workers were already at the lowest run of the ladder" in terms of financial security, said Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program Fellow Martha Ross.
  • About half of low-wage workers are either primary earners or contribute substantially to family expenses.

Depending on the region, Brookings found between 30% and 62% of workers earn low wages — with median hourly earnings ranging from $8.40 to $12.65. (This interactive tool lets you drill down into metro area.)

Expand chart
Adapted from Brookings; Map: Axios Visuals

The largest metros have the most low-wage workers in absolute numbers. In the L.A. region alone, there are 2.7 million, including 500,000 retail workers, cooks and food servers, per Brookings.

  • Tourism-dependent states like Nevada, Florida, Louisiana and Hawaii are likely to be hit hardest, McKinsey predicts.
  • For example, more than half of jobs in the Las Vegas area are vulnerable as the casinos, hotels and restaurants went dark.

The other side: Demand is surging in other areas. The McKinsey report estimates that up to 3 million workers could find short-term employment in grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, e-commerce warehouses and as delivery drivers.

  • Yes, but: Worries about exposure to the virus may prevent workers from seeking employment in those settings.

The big picture: The lack of protections — paid sick leave, safety rights and equitable wages — are now more apparent than ever.

"The previous status quo was not serving people well. This could be a chance to remake some of the rules about what we expect of employers in terms of how they treat their workers and reframe what it means to be a good employer."
— Martha Ross, Brookings

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 31,517,087 — Total deaths: 968,726 Total recoveries: 21,622,862Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 6,895,685 — Total deaths: 200,768 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

Louisville declares state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday "due to the potential for civil unrest" ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

Trump pushes to expand ban against anti-racism training to federal contractors

Trump speaking at Moon Township, Penns., on Sept. 22. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced late Tuesday that the White House attempt to halt federal agencies' anti-racism training would be expanded to block federal contractors from "promoting radical ideologies that divide Americans by race or sex."

Why it matters: The executive order appears to give the government the ability to cancel contracts if anti-racist or diversity trainings focused on sexual identity or gender are organized. The memo applies to executive departments and agencies, the U.S. military, federal contractors and federal grant recipients.

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