COVID-19, Employment, and Wages

By Ryan McLaughlin

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, it has become well-understood that the economic consequences of COVID-19 lockdowns have been harsher for lower-wage workers. While higher-wage workers are more likely to be unaffected by the pandemic, as they are able to work remotely, hundreds of thousands of service sector workers have lost work. ICTC’s recent report, The Digital-Led New Normal: Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022, documents the disparate impacts on employment across three evenly sized groupings of workers by wages, and this blog takes a look at some of these analyses.

Since February, including the modest recovery in May, employment of males in the lowest-earning occupations have dropped by 19.7%, while the employment of females in the lowest-earning occupations have dropped by 26.3%. In contrast, only 3.7% of the highest-earning third of males have lost their jobs, and 0.6% of the highest-earning third of females. COVID-19-caused layoffs and job losses are disproportionately affecting the lowest-income segment (and therefore most financially vulnerable portion) of the workforce.

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