The blaring headlines of unemployment rates across the state and nation are alarming enough, but according to estimates from two analysts, they're even worse and more significant at a granular level in America's largest cities.
Their findings, which were shared recently
and also the subject of a New York Times article last week
, show "how the distinct nature of the coronavirus economic shock has divided cities into neighborhoods where most people can work from home and neighborhoods where most can’t. And because the latter group is disproportionately made up of Black and Hispanic workers, those lines also largely follow patterns of racial segregation."
While the examples cited by the NYT include New York City and Chicago, the same trends are seen in Cleveland, where the estimates show Depression-era unemployment levels of 30% or higher in the poorer areas of Cleveland — its east side, which follows along with the city's segregated outline.
While federal data doesn't provide much information on census tract-level unemployment, Yair Ghitza and Mark Steitz have utilized government statistics to show how many people in any given neighborhood are currently out of work.
While, as the Times notes, "these estimates also come with much wider room for error than official statistics, and the researchers warn that the results should be viewed alongside other data as policymakers try to understand an economy in free fall," they are helpful in pinpointing the current labor landscape.
That free fall, researchers said, will not be helped with the expiration of the Fed's $600 weekly supplemental aid. While Ohio and other states have signaled they'll accept a new White House proposal for $300 in weekly aid, those that have depended on the larger amount — those that are concentrated in high-unemployment, high-minority areas — will be worse off, as will their neighbors.
"These are the neighborhoods where workers — and the businesses that depend on their spending — would most acutely suffer without more federal help," the Times wrote.
Explore the map here.