Essential Workers and COVID-19

Last week, I was a guest along with economist Gary Hoover on That Rona Special part 2 – Econ. Gary and I discussed several topics, including the wealth gap. As homeownership is where most individuals hold their wealth, I suggested that homeownership affords owners a form of protection from COVID-19 in that homeowners have control over who enters their space – social distancing. Homeownership also allows homeowners to escape the confines of the walls within the home, which has benefits for mental health.

We also discussed the pros and cons of paying essential workers at least $15/hour, i.e., a minimum wage for hazard pay. We fear that increasing wages for essential jobs may encourage more workers to take these jobs, which would put more workers at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

I reminded listeners that due to occupation segregation, men and women are not employed in the same occupations (See Table 1). This also holds for Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American men and women in occupations considered essential. (See Table 2). Click here to listen to the podcast.

Be well,
Rhonda V. Sharpe