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Both the public health and economic fallouts from the COVID-19 outbreak are expected to be massive. Making certain our essential workforce is protected through expanded paid leave, ensured food and housing assistance, enhanced unemployment insurance, cash payments and other targeted measures is decisively the blunt force needed for short-term countercyclical change. As the country mobilizes to beat the public health crisis, we must do even more to prepare our workforce against the economic devastation to come.
Even before the outbreak, job quality and working conditions were awful for low-wage workers. Now these workers are on the frontline of this crisis or they have been laid off as their employers are closing shop. The crisis has laid bare long-standing structural problems that have generated precarious employment conditions and job insecurity in the American labor market. The coronavirus recession only magnifies economic inequality by how women, people of color and immigrants are disproportionately impacted and why the need to strengthen protections for our workforce is urgent.This article was originally published in Morning Consult.