Fed research shows who is most impacted by COVID in Philadelphia

COVID-19-related business shutdowns have caused millions of Americans to file for jobless benefits in just two months. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's new research examines where these unemployed workers live in order to gauge the economic impact through a place-based lens. Read the research:

Our research finds that Philadelphia workers who were already struggling were most at risk for job loss. These workers also lived in areas that had higher poverty rates, more residents of color, and lower rates of health insurance coverage than low-risk areas. The research looked at neighborhoods in Philadelphia, the three states of the Third District (Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), and the U.S.

The pandemic is likely to increase place-based inequalities because the sudden loss of income is worsening the financial situation for struggling households. Among households with at-risk workers, income losses could more than double the number who are unable to afford monthly living expenses — from 3.7 million before the pandemic to 9.6 million after.

The brief is part of our series, Equity in Recovery, which looks at the workers, small businesses, and places most affected by economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These disruptions disproportionately affect communities that were already struggling. We hope these briefs start a conversation about how we can come together to build resilient and inclusive growth.

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