Service workers in hospitality and sales workers in retail are highly impacted by COVID-19 related closures. Amid the COVID-19 public health crisis, Asian-majority and Latino-majority neighborhoods in Los Angeles County are most vulnerable to negative economic consequences due to workforce concentration in these service and sales sectors.
The “social distancing” and stay at home orders resulting from COVID-19 have led to a decline in consumer demand and massive business closures. As a result, many people unable to work from home are at an increased risk of unemployment. UCLA LPPI’s report examines the location, racial-ethnic composition, foreign-born status, and socioeconomic circumstances of individuals in the service and retail sectors, the two sectors highly impacted by COVID-19. Our findings show that these workers are more likely to earn low-wages, live in poverty, or identify as people of color, with Latinos being the ethnic majority in both at-risk sectors.
- Those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be workers who earn low-wages, live in poverty, or identify as people of color. Within both service and retail sectors Latinos are the ethnic majority.
- 40 percent of Asian-majority neighborhoods and 57 percent of LA County’s Latino-majority neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic given their outsized share of the county’s retail and service sector workers, compared to only 12.2 percent of white-majority neighborhoods.
- Neighborhoods with the highest-rate of low-income people are home to the County’s greatest share of at-risk service and retail workers at 34 percent, and County neighborhoods with the greatest proportion of foreignborn individuals have the highest share of at-risk workers.
- The workers in the hospitality and retail sectors are disproportionately people of color due in large part to the number of Latinos across both sectors with 53 percent in sales/retailing and 61 percent in service/hospitality.