COVID-19's Unequal Impacts on Minnesota Workers: A Race and Gender Lens

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been dramatic. Analysts are still working to understand how the pandemic has uniquely impacted different sectors of the economy and different parts of the workforce. In
Minnesota, as in other states, the employment impacts have sharply diverged by gender, race, and ethnicity.

Through analysis of state-level occupational survey data, state unemployment data, and interviews with community service organizations and unions, this report provides a clearer picture of which Minnesota workers have been most
impacted by COVID-19, how they have been impacted, and what state and community economic supports they have relied upon during the dislocations caused by the pandemic.

Our analysis reveals clear patterns by which women, men, and different racial and ethnic groups in Minnesota have been distinctly impacted by workplace closures and modifications as a result of COVID-19. The data show a dual vulnerability for women on the whole, and one faced disproportionately by women of color: these workers are concentrated in the essential workforce with high risk of
virus transmission and have been particularly vulnerable to layoffs. Other demographic groups, especially white men, are more likely to work in low-risk essential positions or have been able to work from home.

This report breaks down these trends in greater depth and suggests why these patterns exist. Moreover, our interviews with community service organization and
union leaders provide insight into what has and has not worked to support the most vulnerable workers in the COVID-19 context. Together, these data support a set of policy recommendations that can strengthen our pandemic responses now and in the future.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCenter on Women, Gender and Public Policy
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

The Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy thanks the Carlson Family Foundation for partial financial support for the research and production of this report. For aid in obtaining data for this report, we thank Oriane Casale and Amanda Rohrer at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Ben Jaques-Leslie at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Susan Brower at the Minnesota State Demographic Center, and Jane Tigan at Minnesota Management and Budget. We also thank all of the community
organization and union leaders that shared their time and insights with us. Rachel Farris, communications manager at the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy, provided editing and production support.


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