SIX: Looking at Urban Inequalities Regarding Different Jobs in the Age of COVID-19: Who Stayed at Home, Who Did Not?

The diverging trajectories in economic activities stemming from pandemic prevention measures (such as working from home directives) continues to affect sectors and employees worldwide in different ways (see Shearmur et al, Volume 4). According to data from the June 2020 Global Economic Prospects Report, in the best- case scenario, the COVID- 19 pandemic pushed 71 million people below the poverty line, drawing the extreme poverty rate to 8.82 percent (World Bank, 2020). Although lockdowns impacted almost all sectors, those impacts varied across employment and economic sectors. A study conducted in the United States revealed that some sectors, such as trade, passenger transport, arts and entertainment, accommodation, food and beverage, and other personal services, were comparatively more affected. Some occupational groups working in different positions within these sectors were also affected in different ways. Employees in these sectors are younger and less well- educated, with lower annual income, thus making them economically less secure during the COVID- 19 pandemic (Berube and Bateman, 2020).

The pandemic has deepened inequalities, both in terms of the economic loss (dependent to some extent on the ability or inability to work from home) and the disease risk to those who continue to go to work. Frontline workers in health care and critical supply chains continue to work under the risk of infection, although they are less financially affected (Bergamini, 2020). While economic activities have slowed down worldwide, the capacity to work remotely determines the extent of the economic costs caused by the pandemic.

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