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An Income Gap Pandemic?

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

While many lost jobs and suffered from hunger during the Covid-19 pandemic, some others saw their wealth skyrocketed, buoyed by a robust stock market. After the sudden crash in March, 2020, the stock market quickly recovered and reached its all time high by the end of 2020. Since then, it has risen by another 16% as measured by the S&P 500 index. An ever rising stock market against the backdrop of a global pandemic has exacerbated an already huge income gap. According to Inequality.Org, the wealthy gained as much as the income loss endured by ordinary workers (1).

The pandemic has led to changes in how people work. Work from home replaced daily commute to office, saving time, cost, energy and exposure to the virus. However this convenience is largely enjoyed by higher income earners. Those who make more than $200,000 a year are seven times as likely to work from home as do low income earners.

Given that the low income jobs are largely in service industries such as restaurants and hotels, this group is the most severely hit by Job losses. In fact, based on data from the University of Chicago, the lower the income, the higher possibility for job loss. There is a positively correlated relationship between income and job security.

Maybe this is where and when the government interventions should step in.


(1) https://inequality.org/facts/inequality-and-covid-19/

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