Analysis of the COVID-19 impacts on employment and unemployment across the multi-dimensional social disadvantaged areas


This is the study of economic impacts in the context of social disadvantage. It specifically considers economic conditions in regions with pre-existing inequalities and examines labor market outcomes in already socially vulnerable areas. The economic outcomes remain relatively unexplored by the studies on the COVID-19 impacts. To fill the gap, we study the relationship between the pandemic-caused economic recession and vulnerable communities in the unprecedented times. More marginalized regions may have broader economic damages related to the pandemic. First, based on a literature review, we delineate areas with high social disadvantage. These areas have multiple factors associated with various dimensions of vulnerability which existed pre-COVID-19. We term these places "". Second, we compare employment and unemployment rates between areas with high and low disadvantage. We integrate geospatial science with the exploration of social factors associated with disadvantage across counties in Tennessee which is part of coronavirus "red zone" states of the US southern Sunbelt region. We disagree with a misleading label of COVID-19 as the "great equalizer". During COVID-19, marginalized regions experience disproportionate economic impacts. The negative effect of social disadvantage on pandemic-caused economic outcomes is supported by several lines of evidence. We find that both urban and rural areas may be vulnerable to the broad social and economic damages. The study contributes to current research on economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and social distributions of economic vulnerability. The results can help inform post-COVID recovery interventions strategies to reduce COVID-19-related economic vulnerability burdens.

Publication Title

Social sciences & humanities open