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The COVID-19 public health crisis has upended the lives of Californians. Millions of people have experienced serious disruptions to their jobs following social distancing public health recommendations and state and local shelter-in-place orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. While necessary to prevent overwhelming the state’s health care system, the business reductions and closures forced by these orders will have a severe economic impact on Californians and will hit those with low incomes especially hard.

This Fact Sheet shows that the types of occupations most immediately impacted by the COVID-19-related economic shutdown typically pay low wages, providing annual incomes near or below the poverty line based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure for Los Angeles, even for full-time work.1 This means that the Californians who will bear the brunt of the economic slowdown live paycheck to paycheck even when work is plentiful and are unlikely to have savings to fall back on when their jobs disappear.

1 Although many people employed in these occupations have likely lost work in recent weeks, there are notable exceptions. For example, within transportation and warehousing, there has been increased demand for jobs supported by online shopping.

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