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The pandemic has increased labor market inequalities

Long-term labor market inequalities in the US have worsened amid a coronavirus pandemic, with teleworking widening the gap, according to a Gallup poll released today.

Gallup surveyed more than 7,700 American adults in the fourth quarter of 2020, and according to its results, unemployment mainly affected Hispanics and African Americans, as well as those with lower levels of education and lower incomes.

More than 40% of Americans whose incomes were below 20% in 2019, Hispanic workers and people without a university degree said they were laid off during the coronavirus pandemic, compared with 31% of all respondents.

Only 11% of respondents whose incomes in 2019 were among the top 10% said they lost their job.

“We entered the pandemic with all these structural problems and they evolved in such a way that they made the lives of people who were already struggling worse,” commented Gallup economist Jonathan Rothwell.

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“Assistance must be disproportionately focused on those who have been disproportionately affected,” he added.

According to the research, teleworking created a new gap between employees.

Those who could work from home reported more improvement in their working conditions, 45%, compared to 33% for all respondents. On the contrary, those who could not, spoke of a deterioration in their working conditions, at a rate of 43%, compared to 30% for all respondents.

The researchers concluded that teleworking depends on the income of employees, with those with higher incomes benefiting more.

Half of the respondents who declared high incomes in 2019 answered that they now work permanently from home, compared to one in five employees whose income was at the bottom 20%.

“There has to be some kind of compensation for the weight they take on as they are exposed to disease and not just during the pandemic,” Rothwell said of workers who cannot work from home.

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