While nearly half of Sacramento-area residents in a CapRadio/Valley Vision survey said they had lost income because of COVID-19, that impact isn't spread evenly through the region.
Forty five percent of residents said they had lost income — either somewhat or significantly — because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll, administered by the Institute for Social Research at Sacramento State, looked at people living in eight counties of the greater Sacramento region, from San Joaquin, Sutter and the foothills.
But 62% of both Black respondents and people who identify as Latino said their income has gone down under the pandemic, while 53% of Asian respondents said their income has declined. Thirty-nine percent of white residents said their income went down somewhat or significantly. (Note: Poll respondents could identify as being both Hispanic or Latino and a race such as Asian, Black or white.)
“This pandemic ... has really, really affected the little people like me,” said Kevin Lash, owner of Wrapalot Specialty Films in North Sacramento’s Del Paso area, which provides services such as car window tinting, and custom-made jerseys for school athletes.
“I’m an African American male with a unique business," Lash said. "Trying to grow this business, it’s not easy. The hustle is real.”
Lately, Lash says, business has been down by 40%. He says he finds clients mostly by networking at in-person community meetings, which hasn’t been happening as much because of the pandemic.
UC Berkeley Labor Researcher Ken Jacobs says communities of color have born the brunt of pandemic-related job losses.
“The jobs that have gone away during this downturn, are jobs that are also disproportionately workers of color, so that includes jobs like non-food retail, the restaurant industry, entertainment industry, [and] hotels,” he says.
With COVID-19 cases now surging, Jacobs said, it will likely take longer for Californians to recover from those income losses.
“That really increases the odds that we have a much longer, much more dragged out recovery. And that more businesses end up going out of business," he said. "And that we see larger, longer-term changes in our economy.”
Lash says he’s just trying to stay positive.
“It’s really hard to survive, I’m a little nervous right now" he said."I don’t know how long this can go on. I pray that my landlord is generous, but they have to survive too.”
Lash said there is an upside to this economic downturn. He’s using the time to pivot his business model — he’s making more signs for local businesses.
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