Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Protecting Black Workers During the COVID-19 Recession

Research from the Thurgood Marshall Institute

The COVID-19 Recession: Unprecedented and Unpredictable

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economic system and public health infrastructure. More than one year after the United States recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus, millions of Americans are still struggling.

Coronavirus case numbers are now extremely high, and because of logistical and sociological challenges, it is unlikely that sufficient numbers of people will be vaccinated to establish herd immunity until the end of the summer. The U.S. economy is slowing down, therefore it seems reasonable to expect that unemployment rates will remain high, if not rise again, over the year. Although we have vaccines, we still need policies focused on mitigating the impact of the recession.

Black communities have been hit hard by the pandemic and economic fallout. Black Americans suffer higher rates of infection and experience a larger than average share of job losses. Black workers are also overrepresented in low- and middle-wage essential frontline jobs where the risk of contracting the virus is higher. Protecting the health and safety of Black workers will ultimately lead to a stronger economic recovery for the country as a whole. This TMI Brief identifies key policies to protect Black workers.

Read the full brief on the COVID-19 recession’s impact on Black workers here.

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