Risky business

Economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis on different groups of workers

The coronavirus crisis has affected everyone. Everyone’s health is at risk and to combat the disease, working lives have been altered across the country. But some are affected more than others: the relationship between the kind of job people have and their exposure to big economic or health risks in this crisis is by no means uniform. This report explores in detail those very different experiences across the workforce.

We identify four main groups of workers that have had similar experiences in this crisis. Key workers are most exposed to the health risks from coronavirus because they continue to work in jobs where social distancing is very difficult. People working in shutdown sectors are the most likely to be feeling the economic effects of the crisis acutely. Workers not in these groups are more likely to be able to continue working with some form of normalcy, with some able to work from home and some still having to go out to work.

We suggest that key workers and workers in shutdown sectors are experiencing the most acute consequences of this crisis. Across these groups lower-paid people, young and women stand out as the hardest hit.