Giving Compass' Take:

• Kathryn A. Edwards, at Rand, covers the unrelenting damage of COVID-19 on the economic well-being of leisure and hospitality workers.

• Why might leisure and hospitality workers find it harder to get back to work due to the nature of their jobs? What can you do to support policy decisions that help those who've been displaced from work during the pandemic?

• Look for funds that can help you support workers during coronavirus.

By most measures, the workers hardest hit by the pandemic shutdowns were those in the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services. Back in February there were 16.8 million of these jobs; by April, there were only 8.5 million. Among all of the people working in leisure and hospitality in March, 47 percent were not working at all in April.

Leisure and hospitality jobs are also some of the lowest paid out there. The leisure half—who work in arts, entertainment, and recreation—post median hourly wages of $13.88. The hospitality half, who work in accommodation and food services, have median wages of $11.64.

Further, these jobs—still affected by government social distancing regulations—are not all likely to come back before the pandemic truly ends.

In a previous post, I explained that there are two large segments within the unemployed. If someone is furloughed or thinks they will be recalled within six months to their past job, they are on temporary layoff. Individuals on permanent layoff, on the other hand, are looking for a new job.

Even as the unemployment rate dropped in August, that month saw several large layoff announcements from leisure and hospitality employers. These companies are bracing for a prolonged downturn with much reduced demand for travel, conference services, and in-person entertainment. That means many jobs that were “on hold” in the belief that the pandemic would pass are now disappearing for good.

Inferring what such transitions mean for the economy is difficult. However, they do cohere with the outlook of firms that are permanently laying off furloughed employees, as well as the sentiment captured in the most recent outlook from the regional governors of the Federal Reserve system.

Read the full article about leisure and hospitality workers during COVID-19 by Kathryn A. Edwards at RAND Corporation.