The California Women’s Well-Being Index is a fully interactive data visualization that looks at women’s well-being in each of California’s 58 counties. The Index shows how women are faring overall and across five different areas of well-being: Health, Personal Safety, Employment & Earnings, Economic Security, and Political Empowerment. See the Index to learn how women are faring in your community.
Our state has a diverse and dynamic economy. Yet, a large share of Californians live in poverty, wages for the typical worker have been stagnant over the past generation, and there is a widening gap between the wealthiest Californians and households with low incomes. Through our analyses of employment, incomes, and overall economic security, the Budget Center seeks to shed light on state and regional trends while highlighting potential policy approaches for helping Californians with low and middle incomes be able to work, live and provide for their families in our communities.
Millions of Californians are struggling to pay for basic necessities like housing and food amid the worst recession in recent history. California’s unemployment remains extremely high, particularly for Black and brown Californians. What’s more, the financial situation for many people has deteriorated as Congress has failed to extend additional federal unemployment benefits or provide any new economic relief that would significantly help children, families, and individuals who have lost income and cannot safely return to work. This report shows how California’s workers are faring six months into the COVID-19 recession and highlights the urgent need for federal and state policymakers to extend support to people and do more to respond to the economic crisis that is exacerbating health and financial disparities for Californians, especially Black and brown Californians.
Who is hit hardest by California’s job losses that are far worse than the Great Recession? Women and people of color. In only two months – between February and April of this year – California lost 2.6 million jobs. That’s twice as many jobs as California lost during the Great Recession over almost three years. Senior Policy Analyst Alissa Anderson shares more about what the job losses mean for Californians and what policymakers can do to extend support needed now.
Californians working in low-paying industries were more likely to lose their jobs since the COVID-19 economic crisis began. Low-paying industries saw a 26.8% decline in jobs from February to April, a loss of over 1.5 million private-sector jobs. This accounts for roughly 62% of private-sector jobs lost.
Choosing between paying the bills or caring for their families has never been an easy choice for California workers. COVID-19 health and economic conditions have only exacerbated that dilemma. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act temporarily addresses workers’ lack of paid time off in the United States but exemptions for employers still leave many workers, many of whom earn low wages, at heightened risk of COVID-19 exposure. Meanwhile, California’s family and medical leave laws bring limitations for households, and these barriers are particularly acute for workers with low wages – disproportionately women, Black, and Latinx workers.