Largest metropolitan areas lose living-wage jobs in first year of pandemic

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Eighty-Four the largest metropolitan areas in the country recorded negative growth in living wage jobs – five double digits – in the first year of the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP).

“Too many Americans remain functionally unemployed in every region of the United States, but some regions have done better, proving that recessions, like economic recoveries, are not equal,” the LISEP president said. Gene Ludwig. “If policymakers are to make decisions to facilitate an equitable recovery, it is important that they are aware of the disparities that this data shows. And this data is much more indicative of the economic picture of these local areas than the main data economic”.

LISEP today published a comprehensive analysis of the actual unemployment rate (TRU) by metropolitan statistical area (MSA), a more in-depth version of its monthly report Real unemployment rate report. For the purposes of this analysis, LISEP has highlighted the sister metric of TRU: the TRU out of population. This is defined as the percentage of the total MSA population (aged 16+) who are not employed full-time, work part-time but want to work full-time, and do not earn a higher salary at the poverty line. The calculations are based on data compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Analyzes based on the employment status of the entire population, as opposed to just the civilian workforce, serve as a more telling barometer of work trends during the pandemic due to a spike in discouraged workers leaving the labor market, according to LISEP.

In the TRU by MSA report, which compares rates from 2019 to 2020, LISEP found that among the largest metropolitan areas in the country, the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta MSA saw the largest increase in the working unemployment rate among the most populous MSAs, with the TRU Out of the Population rate jumping 12.39 percentage points from 2019 to 2020, followed by BostonCambridgeNewton at 11.61 percentage points. The functional unemployment rate jumped 11.33 percentage points in the Los Angeles-Long Beach MSA, followed by BridgeportStamford, Conn. (+10.86%), Memphis, TN. (+10.78%) and Knoxville, Tenn. (+9.54%) and birminghamHoover, Ala. (+9.06%).

Opposite of the spectrum, Richmond, Virginia.showed the most improved out-of-population TRU rate in the first year of the pandemic, with an improvement of 7.4 percentage points. Tucson, Arizona.was the second most improved MSA, with functional unemployment down 5.65%, followed by Virginia BeachNorfolk with an improvement of 4.59%, El Paso, TXup 2.7%, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.with a 2.21% improvement in the living wage employment rate.

“The breakdown of the U.S. economy into individual local economies gives us a clearer picture of how prepared we were for the economic shock brought on by the pandemic, and may offer clues as to how we can be better prepared when a another major recession is happening,” Ludwig said. . “However, COVID and people’s reluctance to return to low-wage jobs paints a troubling picture of how low- and middle-income Americans have fared over the past 50 years.”

In addition to its monthly national TRU report, LISEP will continue to publish functional data on unemployment by the MSA following the annual publication of self-employed earnings through the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), published jointly by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Census Bureau each fall.

About TRU
LISEP published the white paper “Measuring Better: Development of ‘True Rate of Unemployment Data as the Basis for Social and Economic Policy” when announcing the new statistical measure in October 2020. The document and the methodology can be consulted here. LISEP issues the TRU one to two weeks after the release of the BLS unemployment report, which occurs on the first Friday of each month. The TRU rate and supporting data are available on the LISEP website at

The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP) was created in 2019 by Ludwig and his wife, Dr. Carole Ludwig. LISEP’s mission is to improve the economic well-being of middle- and low-income Americans through research and education, and seeks to advance the dialogue around policy solutions to improve the well-being of all Americans.

On Gene Ludwig
In addition to his role as President of LISEP, Gene Ludwig is the founder of the Promontory family of companies and Canapi LLC, a fintech venture capital fund. He is CEO of Promontory MortgagePath, a technology-based mortgage management and solutions company, and Chairman of Promontory Financial Group. Ludwig is the former Vice President and Chief Comptroller of Bankers Trust New York Corp., and served as Comptroller of the United States Currency from 1993 to 1998. He is also the author of the book The fading American dream, which studies the economic challenges faced by low- and middle-income Americans. He left in September 2020 by Disruption Books. On Twitter: @geneludwig.

SOURCE Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity

Michael A. Bynum