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Study puts COVID-19 income losses at $8,900 per worker

dollar bill with mask

The U.S. workforce has taken a big economic hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, U.S. workers have lost $1.3 trillion in income during the health crisis, amounting to an average loss of nearly $8,900 per worker, according to research published by the Society for Human Resource Management and Oxford Economics. The amount translates to roughly $8,900 per worker. 

Notably, 20% of the loss represents earnings of those who remain employed, suggesting that workers either accepted a lower pay or reduced hours and also suggesting job-losses alone are an incomplete account of COVID-19’s impact on workers, the study said. The latest findings from the bi-weekly COVID-19 Business Index also examine the long-term consequences of the crisis, forecasting a slow recovery for larger cities and smaller communities alike.

Other key findings include: 

• By the end of 2020, only 20% of metropolitan areas and 11 percent of smaller communities will recover employment levels seen before the outbreak; and

• Nearly four in 10 smaller communities are not expected to recover pre-COVID-19 employment levels by the end of 2024.

“It’s literally impossible to overstate the magnitude of $1.3 trillion,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., CEO, SHRM. “This isn’t just some abstract number: We’re talking about lives and livelihoods. This is our reality — and it underscores the urgency with which we must move to safely reopen and return to work.

The COVID-19 Business Index will be updated on a bi-weekly basis through June 2020, providing business leaders and government officials with a pulse on the state of business in the U.S. during the evolving economic crisis.

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