Frank Lopez" />

published on September 30, 2020 - 2:41 PM
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A recent study says employment rates for low-wage workers in the Fresno area have dropped dramatically since January.

A new report from economists and Opportunity Insights, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization based at Harvard University, also shows a loss in small business revenue from March 25 to April 14 of 58.7%.

Low–wage workers employed in small restaurants and retail saw their hours drop by 60.7%. There was a 36.6% drop in low-wage worker hours in general.

In Fresno County, workers with annual income of $27,000 or less saw a 28.4% drop in employment. Workers with high wages, $60,000 and over, only saw a 0.4% drop in employment from January to the end of July.

A surprising pattern from the report shows that high rates of unemployment insurance (UI) are equally likely to come from high versus low-income counties.

“Santa Clara County in California is the highest income county on the West Coast, yet 16% of its labor force claimed UI between March 15th to May 2nd,” stated the report on page 30. “This claim rate is identical to the share of the labor force that claimed UI in Fresno CA, a low-income county in California’s Central Valley. Unemployment rates above 10% have happened regularly in Fresno during prior recessions, but are unprecedented in Santa Clara.”

Fresno County also saw a 4.2% drop in consumer spending since January, according to the Economic Tracker on the Opportunity Insights website.

The city with the highest change in small business revenue was New Orleans, with an 80.8% drop.

Las Vegas is 10th on the list of the largest small business revenue losses following the Covid-19 shock with a 56.1% drop in small business revenue.

San Jose is the only other city in California on the list beside Fresno. San Jose saw a 58.6% drop in its small business revenue.


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