Equity & COVID-19 in Northeastern Pennsylvania
This report was prepared to shed light on disparities in COVID-19 impacts across gender, age, racial, and other relevant demographic groups. First, it explores statewide and nationwide data collected on COVID-19 infections and deaths, which so far have shown significant disparities across racial and ethnic lines. It also analyzes unemployment claims data to identify whether certain segments of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s population have been disproportionately impacted by job losses. The data confirms that women, non-white workers and those in the 20 – 24 age group have been disproportionately affected by COVID itself and in the workplace as a result. Further, the research addresses inequities in remote work opportunities.
Several factors are at play with regard to these inequities. The pandemic and associated business restrictions have affected industries very differently, so demographic groups that are more represented in the workforces of heavily impacted industries would face a greater burden of employment and income disruption. Further, changes to family needs specific to the pandemic have an impact, such as the need for more parents to stay at home due to virtual education.
There are steps regional leaders can take to address these challenges and focus workforce development efforts on creating opportunities for groups that have been adversely impacted. They might support a human-centered workforce approach, for example, or explore innovative ways to expand remote work beyond the managerial or high education workforce. It is also important for local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that detailed and relevant data are collected and made widely available to allow for further in-depth study of inequities both during and after the pandemic.
Having an understanding of which groups may be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 disease itself or economic impacts of the pandemic will help communities respond appropriately, particularly when historically marginalized or vulnerable populations face worse impacts.
Read the full report here.