Economic Profile 2020: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Regional Labor Force

How has the pandemic disrupted labor force participation in the region?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 旧金山湾区是全国失业率最低的地区之一,这一指标经常被用来显示该地区强劲的经济. While less commonly referenced, 劳动力参与率——16岁及以上就业或正在找工作的平民人口的百分比——由于大流行造成的工作混乱而变得更加重要.

Looking backward, the Bay Area regionwide labor force participation rate hovered between 65 percent and 70 percent between 2000 and 2018. Over this period, the Bay Area’s labor force participation was lower than peer metros such as Seattle, Boston, Austin, and Denver, but higher than New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The difference can largely be attributed to demographics.

At the height of the pandemic, the labor force participation rate in the Bay Area fell to a 61.6 percent low point in May 2020. 对不同性别和教育水平的劳动力参与率变化的研究表明,大流行对某些群体造成了不平等的破坏, and history shows that those who exit the labor market have a harder time returning. Labor force participation among women has showed slower signs of rebounding than men, 该地区只有高中学历的人口中,离开劳动力大军的比例要高于那些教育程度更高的人口.

Labor force participation rate is also an important indicator for regional economic recovery, as it provides greater nuance to reported unemployment rates. It can also be a reflection of migration during the pandemic. The chart below shows labor force changes by metro area across the U.S. Movement can partially be attributed to people dropping out of the labor force in each of these regions, 但这也可能是人口转移的早期迹象,特别是考虑到劳动力增加的地区也是疫情期间租金上涨的地区.

Since October 2019, the Bay Area labor force has fallen by more than 56,000 people. While not as steep of a drop as in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles, 该地区劳动力的流失确实表明了缓慢的经济复苏和潜在的人口下降的共同作用。经济复苏使得那些失去工作的人不再找工作. Looking within the Bay Area, much of the labor force reduction can be attributed to Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties, whereas Santa Clara County has actually grown its labor force year-over-year.



Exhibit #1: COVID-19 has a regressive impact on female labor force participation 

On a national scale, 在COVID-19之前,女性占劳动力的46%,但在大流行期间,女性占失业申请的54%. Furthermore, women are disproportionately represented in industries that are expected to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the long term.

Aside from labor market dynamics, another major factor influencing women to drop out of the workforce is the increased burden of domestic and unpaid care work. Research has found that the pandemic has created additional unpaid and domestic work among households, and that the gender distribution of this additional work has remained similar to pre-pandemic: women take on more of the work.

Fifty-five percent of women and 64 percent of men reported 由于2019冠状病毒病,整体无薪护理和家务工作增加,这一差异可能是因为在大流行之前,妇女每天花在这类工作上的时间已经增加. However, 男性和女性受访者都更有可能表示,COVID-19期间的无偿照顾和家务工作大部分或100%由女性完成,而不是男性.

A study examining female labor force participation and wage growth between 1980 and 2010 found a correlation between the two factors, showing that U.S. cities that saw the highest wage growth over the period tended to have higher female labor force participation rates. Due to these connections between female labor force participation and this key economic indicator, 确保湾区的劳动力参与率公平反弹,对于确保该地区能够继续在经济指标上领先至关重要.


Exhibit #2: The lowest wage industries in the Bay Area have experienced the deepest and most sustained job loss

受新冠肺炎疫情影响,旧金山湾区净失业人数最多的行业主要是平均工资最低的行业. Accounting for over one-third of the net jobs lost in the region, accommodation and food services is also the industry with the lowest average weekly wage in 2019. With the job losses concentrated in these low-wage industries, 我们有机会投资对闲置劳动力进行技能再培训,帮助这些以前工资较低的工人在重返劳动力市场时,引导他们走上高薪职业道路.



以前在这些低工资行业工作的工人所掌握的技能,将使许多旧金山湾区的居民获得更高的工资, more resilient, and in-demand jobs in the post pandemic economy. Research on in-demand jobs that are resilient in the short term, to the pandemic, and in the long term, to factors such as automation, has found that the most resilient jobs are concentrated in technology, healthcare, and business management. 大流行之前进行的一项分析发现,在全国范围内,这三类职位中只有11%不要求学士学位, significantly limiting the pool of qualified candidates. Simultaneously shifting the mind sets of hiring managers to take a skilled-centered view of candidates and building opportunities for those who have either left the labor force or are unemployed as a result of the pandemic to build new relevant skills would provide a pathway to higher wage employment for many currently excluded from the regional economy’s most resilient jobs.

由于妇女更加集中,这一办法也将使雇主有机会改善其劳动力队伍中的多样化代表, Black, and Latinx workers in or previously in industries that have experienced the highest job losses.


Exhibit #3: Labor force participation and educational attainment


在新冠肺炎大流行之后,劳动力参与率的下降在湾区没有高中以上学历的居民中最为严重. In January 2020, 在旧金山湾区,年龄在15岁以上、拥有高中或同等教育水平的人口中,有67%参加了劳动大军. As of July, the labor force participation among this group fell to 51 percent – a decrease representing over 100,000 people.

这种动态可能是由没有大学学历的人在受疫情影响最严重的行业集中就业所推动的. 另一个起作用的因素可能是大流行期间在家远程工作的能力与教育水平之间的关系. At the national level, 10 percent of those employed with a high school degree but no college were able to work from home as of July 2020. 在具有一定大学或大专学历的人群中,有能力在家工作的比例上升至19%,而在拥有学士或学士以上学位的人群中,这一比例上升至47%. 许多受教育程度较低的人无法远程工作,这可能是导致人们离开劳动力市场的另一个因素,因为目前维持现场工作带来的健康风险增加了.



随着该地区从COVID-19经济低迷中复苏,与其他城市相比,旧金山湾区的劳动力率将是一个重要的指标. 在未来几个月里,那些没有寻找工作或可能离开该地区的群体将影响大流行后该地区劳动力的状况. Understanding not just the sheer number, 但是,在该地区经济复苏过程中,劳动力人口数量正在下降,这将表明该地区就业复苏的公平性.