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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

COVID-19: Recession hits immigrants and Afro-descendants the hardest

Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].

Unemployment rates have been at extraordinarily high levels during the pandemic, affecting immigrant communities and communities of African descent the most, and an increase associated with higher COVID-19 cases is expected in the coming months. 

According to a report from the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), the average the unemployment rate during the third quarter of 2019 was 4.0 percent, while for July of this year it was 4.0 percent. registered a maximum level of 16 percent.

And while the rate fell to 9.0 percent in October, much lower than seen in July, it is still more than double the average seen in 2019, "a worrisome sign that future months may see an increase rather than a decrease in unemployment."

The institute indicated that all groups have been deeply affected by the recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, immigrants and people of African descent are among those most affected.

But undocumented immigrants may become among the most affected sectorsThey are left out of government support programs, such as the unemployment insurance system, which can help workers in hard times.

For example, when comparing the third quarter of 2020 with the same period of the previous year in New York State, it can be observed that the unemployment rate overall it was 13%, more than three times what was recorded in 2019

However, there is a notable difference when analyzed by group. For Caucasians, the unemployment rate was 10 percent, for people of African descent it was 13 percent, and for people in the Latino community, the rate was 19 percent.

"There is good reason to think that undocumented immigrants have been hit the hardest, as they also miss out on many of the supports that other workers can count on in tough times, such as unemployment insurance or health insurance." 

The FPI report added that while there is no direct measure of unemployment among undocumented workers, looking at the industries in which undocumented immigrants work can give a sense of the labor market they face. 

For one thing, undocumented workers are particularly concentrated among essential workers in supermarkets, public transportation, delivery services, and health care.

On the other hand, immigrants are also concentrated in industries that have seen the greatest loss of employment, such as restaurants and hotels, that is, in jobs that have not been able to continue their activities relatively quietly from home.

In addition, the largest job declines in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year were in sectors such as entertainment and leisure ?46%? as well as accommodation and food services ?40%?

As such, he recommended that federal funds going to the states be flexible enough to allow all groups to be included in the aid, including immigrants.

As well as making sure that people who are working, but can't work from home, have the personal protective equipment they need to stay as safe as possible.

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