- Workers in the U.S. have lost $1.3 trillion in annualized income from the COVID-19 crisis, or about $8,900 per worker — including $260 billion in cuts for employees who still have jobs, according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Oxford Economics. These lost earnings signal that job loss is not the only worker impact.
- According to the research, only about one-fifth of metropolitan areas and even fewer smaller communities will recover employment levels seen prior to the pandemic by the end of 2021. Some smaller communities may still not be recovered by 2024.
- "We’re talking about lives and livelihoods. That’s why, hard as it is to look at, leaders need to see this data. This is our reality — and it underscores the urgency with which we must move to safely reopen and return to work,” SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. said in a statement.
The economic impact of COVID-19 has been well documented; the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the unemployment rate jumped from 4.4% to 14.7%.
Additionally, workers losing their jobs are disproportionately women, people of color and people with disabilities, various studies have shown. One report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research published in April noted that women outnumbered men for job losses in March in almost every sector of the economy, and were especially hard hit in leisure and hospitality, retail, professional services and manufacturing.
A separate Pew Research Center report found that black and Hispanic workers were also overrepresented. And a survey by Global Disability Inclusion noted that more than half of respondents with disabilities said they have lost their jobs, been laid off or furloughed, while only 28% of respondents without disabilities said the same.
Some workers have recovered from these losses, a May 13 Strada survey found. Latino and black employees, while most likely to have lost a job during the pandemic, were also among the most likely to have started a new one, including above white respondents.
As employers mull reopening plans, many are trying to balance business concerns with keeping employees safe and engaged — and that includes a focus on inclusion and belonging. Prioritizing people can ensure a company stays ahead. "In our return to work efforts, we are being very mindful of how we infuse workforce priorities to make sure there's a good focus on D&I, in particular," Susan Robinson, EY Americas diversity and inclusiveness and transactions change leader, previously told HR Dive.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included the wrong date for when cities and localities will recover employment levels. It has been updated to correct the information.