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Report Outlines Disparate Impacts Of Pandemic Job Loss And Recovery

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A new report from the Oregon Employment Department outlines the uneven impact of pandemic-caused job losses.

  

When Oregon’s unemployment rate sailed past a record 13 percent in April of last year, nearly half of the job losses came in leisure, hospitality and personal services. But even though Hispanic workers have a higher share of those job sectors, the report says that did not correspond to a proportionally higher rise in unemployment claims among the group. 

That could be due to a language barrier, said Sarah Cunningham, an employment economist with the Oregon Employment Department. 

“People were more likely to get assistance online or over the phone during the pandemic," she said. "The regular unemployment online claim was initially only available in English. So those two things combined could have been barriers to access to any workers needing language assistance.” 

While Spanish-language assistance was available over the phone, the agency’s phone lines were frequently jammed up during the initial months of the pandemic.

 

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