More than 66 million jobs across fields such as retail, food service and sales are at a high risk of layoffs because of the coronavirus‘ widespread decimation of the American economy and work culture, according to Yahoo Finance, citing a St. Louis Fed economist.
The St. Louis Fed’s Charles Gascon looked at 808 jobs from 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and concluded that nearly half of all Americans currently employed work in jobs that are considered to have the highest possibility of layoffs with the virus’ destructive waves taking effect. Those who work in food preparation, serving, sales, installation, maintenance and repair are on shaky ground, according to the data, and comprise 46 percent of Americans at work today.
On the other end of the spectrum are jobs at low risk of layoffs due to their nature, such as police officers. Those jobs make up 17 percent of people. Jobs that can be done from home, such as computer programmers, make up 33 percent of the workforce and are less likely to be laid off. And salaried jobs, like teachers, make up 3 percent and aren’t as prone to layoffs, either.
Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, cited four aspects of security that people could count themselves as lucky to have right now: access to paid leave, access to healthcare, the ability to work from home or via the computer, and decent wages. But she said the number of people who can claim all four are in a slim minority.
Those with the highest risk of pending unemployment are usually going to be the lowest-paid, the survey found, with the average income being around $36,600 per year. Those making $64,600 or above are less likely to be laid off.
Shierholz said the impact to lower-income people, always worse in any recession, could be harder than usual with the coronavirus due to the nature of social distancing requirements hitting jobs that involve being somewhere in person. Compounded with the lack of healthcare and paid leave, Shierholz said many low-income people would be “out of luck.”
Job losses and business failings will also overwhelmingly hit small businesses, according to other recent findings.