April 8, 2020
Overlooked, Underpaid and Indispensible
(Albany, NY) Today the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) released a new report spotlighting New York’s essential workers who are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the new analysis, there are 2.2 million “essential workers” in New York State. Twenty-two percent of these essential workers support their families on low incomes, with family incomes of less than 200 percent of the poverty level.
Statement from David Dyssegaard Kallick, Deputy Director, Fiscal Policy Institute:
“The pandemic has brought some long-overdue recognition to the workers that we rely on every day to support us. These essential workers provide medical care for our communities, daycare for our children, and make it possible for us to feed our families. Without their work, many New Yorkers would not be able to be in the workforce themselves. Until the coronavirus, it may have seemed easy to overlook the importance of the work they do and overlook the many problems caused by chronically underpaying such a large and needed segment of the labor force. Today, that should change.”
FPI’s report looks at the state as a whole, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and upstate New York (counties in the Capital Region, and north and west of those counties) and offers details on who these essential workers are.
- Women are far more likely to be among these essential workers than men. Women make up 49 percent of workers employed overall, yet they are 65 percent of essential workers. Immigrants are also highly represented among essential workers, making up 28 percent of the workers employed in New York State overall, and 33 percent of essential workers.
- Immigrants are also highly represented among essential workers, making up 28 percent of the workers employed in New York State overall, and 33 percent of essential workers.
- Blacks, whether U.S.-born or immigrants, make up 14 percent of the workers employed in the state, and 22 percent of essential workers.
- Latinx workers make up 18 percent of the workers employed statewide, and 20 percent of essential workers.
The analysis is based on extending a prior analysis by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer around the state and around the country, Data for the report was prepared for the Fiscal Policy Institute by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which released a parallel report for the United States as a whole.
The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.