Expert Pitch

Rutgers Experts on #COVID19Disparities in Unemployment

Workplace experts in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations are available to comment on the April jobs report and how the unemployment crisis disproportionately affects women, people of color, and undocumented workers.

Yana Rodgers, economist and faculty director, Rutgers Center for Women and Work:

“We would like to think that ‘men’s jobs’ and ‘women’s jobs' exist only in the history books, but the truth is that the American workplace is still heavily gendered. Long-standing attitudes about work are incredibly slow to change, and there are both demand and supply-side factors involved. The result? Millions of women are clustered in the service industry, and their jobs are rapidly vanishing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Christopher Hayes, labor historian, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations:

“Despite the endless pronouncements of a “roaring economy” in the Trump era, black workers still lived with a massive racial wealth gap and an unemployment rate twice that of white workers. The federal government’s failure to address COVID-19 has torn away any hard-won gains. African Americans are not only suffering disproportionately in terms of health and mortality, but they are overrepresented among the unemployed and destitute.”

Janice Fine, research and strategy director, Rutgers Center for Innovation in Worker Organization:

“The industries most hurt by the pandemic include restaurants, bars, hotels, entertainment, non-food retail, passenger transportation, and personal care services. Here in New Jersey, there are approximately 125,000 undocumented workers employed in the service sector industries that are most likely to be harmed by the pandemic. Make no mistake, they will be unemployed but they won't show up anywhere in the unemployment statistics.”



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