New Data from Human Rights Campaign Foundation and PSB Insights Show Negative Economic Impact of Reopening on LGBTQ People

While some states have initiated policies to reopen their economies, LGBTQ people are still more likely to be experiencing adverse employment outcomes and are more likely to be returning to work for less pay

Today, as the federal government is releasing its unemployment numbers, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released new data outlining how the first phases of reopening have mostly failed to mend the devastating economic impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community while giving rise to new economic problems. Released in partnership with PSB Insights, the research builds on prior reports showing the negative economic impact of the pandemic on LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color, transgender and LGBTQ people of color and Black LGBTQ people. While some states are reopening their economies, many states are pausing and reversing their policies because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. Even as some states begin initial phases of reopening, however, LGBTQ people are still more likely than the general population to be experiencing higher unemployment rates, are more likely to report having their work hours reduced and, for those who are returning to work, are more likely to be working for less pay.

“As some communities start to go back to work, many times in fear and without choice, we’re seeing that LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color and transgender people, are being left behind. Moreover, LGBTQ people who are able to return to work are taking pay cuts in order to do so. The data continues to reinforce what we already know -- that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is not over because the pandemic is not over, especially for communities who were already marginalized in this country. Without leadership from the highest office of the land, we must make sure that elected officials at all levels are ensuring that LGBTQ people, especially the members of the community who are living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities, receive the support they need.”

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

Even as LGBTQ people continue to suffer the disproportionate negative economic impacts of COVID-19, a new issue is arising. LGBTQ people are more likely to be taking pay cuts now in the first phases of reopening compared to when the nation was on lockdown. As the nation is trying to recover from the national economic fallout of the pandemic, LGBTQ people are being forced to take pay cuts and continue to take unpaid leave in order to maintain their financial livelihoods.

  • The number of people in the general population who are taking pay cuts increased by 14% from when the economy was closed to when some states initiated reopening policies:
    • The LGBTQ population experienced a 20% increase in taking pay cuts.
    • LGBTQ people of color experienced a 54% increase in taking pay cuts.
  • Furthermore, LGBTQ people are 50% more likely and LGBTQ people of color are 150% more likely than the general population to have taken a pay cut since some states initiated reopening policies.
  • One-fifth of LGBTQ people of color have taken a pay cut since some states have initiated policies to reopen.
  • 11% of LGBTQ people, 27% of transgender people and 16% of LGBTQ people of color have taken unpaid leave since parts of the economy have reopened, compared to 6% of the general population.

The data also show that:

  • The LGBTQ population is 20% more likely than the general population to have experienced a reduction in work hours since some states initiated reopening policies.
    • Moreover, LGBTQ people of color are 44% more likely and transgender people are 125% more likely than the general population to have had a reduction in work hours since some states initiated reopening policies.
  • The LGBTQ population is 30% more likely than the general population to have lost their jobs since some states initiated reopening policies due to COVID-19.
  • LGBTQ people of color are 70% more likely and bisexual people are 80% more likely than the general population to have lost their jobs since some states initiated reopening policies due to COVID-19.
  • Nearly one-fifth of bisexual people reported becoming unemployed since some states initiated reopening policies due to COVID-19, a slight increase from when the economy was closed.

The new data and resource build on HRC’s previously released reports, “The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19 Crisis” and “The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ Community,” published in March and April. In June, HRC released “The Impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ Communities of Color,” which documented the heightened risk of LGBTQ people of color in facing negative economic consequences from the pandemic, and “The Economic Impact of COVID-19 Intensifies for Transgender and LGBTQ Communities of Color,” which showed that transgender people, especially transgender people of color, are more likely to face negative economic consequences as a result of the virus. Last month, HRC released “The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Black LGBTQ People,” which showed Black LGBTQ people disproportionately suffer the adverse economic impact of COVID-19.

HRC has also partnered with the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition on a resource, “Finding Financial Stability During Turbulent Times,” with steps and advice for those who may be struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times.

Read more about HRC’s efforts during COVID-19 here.

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