Insights Blog

Recession Worsens Inequalities in Job Safety Among Older Workers

July 9, 2020

Brief— SCEPA's latest research finds that the COVID-19 recession worsens the inequality of job safety among older workers. 

The Retirement Equity Lab's (ReLab) latest policy note shows that older black workers are more likely to work in frontline jobs with high health risks, while older women are overrepresented in sideline jobs more vulnerable to job loss.

Read the report by Aida Farmand and Teresa Ghilarducci here. 

 The report finds: 

  • Older women are overrepresented in jobs with high risk of unemployment.
  • Older Black workers are overrepresented in all essential, "frontline” jobs and underrepresented in safe jobs.
  • Prior to the pandemic, 40 percent of older Black workers in frontline jobs did not have access to paid sick leave.

Older workers are at risk of having to choose between losing their paycheck and their health. Additionally, many older workers who are now without work will not make it back to the labor market once it recovers. Instead, they will be forced into early retirement with less savings, which could lead to elder poverty or a severe drop in living standards. SCEPA recommends policies to aid these vulnerable workers.

See our policy recommendations in the report here.