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SACRAMENTO – California women and people of color are taking the biggest hits in the state’s job losses, according to a new report by the California Budget & Policy Center.

The Budget Center analyzed recently released data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and found in just 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. 

The Budget Center’s new report also shows:

  • During the first three months of the current downturn, employment for Black and Latinx women fell by over 20% – more than three times the decline in employment for white men.
  • Employment for both women and men who are immigrants declined far more than for their non-immigrant counterparts during the first three months of the recession.  Immigrant women saw the steepest decline in employment.
  • The majority of jobs California lost in the first three months of the COVID-19 recession were in low-paying industries.

These findings come as additional unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire next month for Californians unless federal policymakers take action. In addition, state policymakers have agreed to a 2020-21 state budget that avoids severe cuts to health and human services programs but also does not include additional revenue to extend further support to Black, Latinx, undocumented, and immigrant Californians who are struggling to pay for rent and groceries and cannot safely return to work.

“The question for state policymakers as the COVID-19 recession drags on is, how will they find the money needed to avoid cuts to programs and services that Californians will continue to need in the months and years to come?” said Alissa Anderson, Senior Policy Analyst with the California Budget & Policy Center and author of the new report. “State policymakers have an opportunity to make the investments needed now, especially for Black, Latinx, and immigrant Californians, and build an inclusive economy where everyone in our state has the opportunity to work, live, and be healthy in our communities.”

As the state seeks additional federal fiscal relief, policymakers must also consider shifting money away from poorly targeted and inequitable tax breaks provided to wealthy individuals and corporations every year. As just one example, the state budget would have received $11.2 billion more revenue in 2017 had corporations paid the same share of their income in taxes that year as they did in 1981, a recent Budget Center report found. Those resources spent on tax breaks and expenditures for corporations could instead be used to ensure the well-being of every Californian.

Learn more about the Budget Center’s analyses and policy recommendations on an array of economic, health, and COVID-19 issues.

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