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60 percent of businesses with average pay less than $20k told some staff not to work due to COVID-19

December 14, 2020

Many U.S. businesses have changed their operations and employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January 1, 2020, 60 percent of establishments in which workers were paid an average annual wage of less than $20,000 in 2019 told at least some employees not to work. This compared with 39 percent of establishments paying an average wage greater than $80,000. Among establishments that told at least some employees not to work, 57 percent of those paying greater than $80,000 continued paying at least some workers that they told not to work. This compared with 38 percent for establishments in which workers were paid an average wage less than $20,000.

 Percentage of establishments making selected business decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Average wages paid by establishment Told at least some employees not to work Continued paying employees not working Paying health insurance for employees not working Increased telework available to employees No telework before or during pandemic

Less than $20,000

60% 38% 20% 13% 74%

$20,000-$40,000

56 50 39 23 63

$40,000-$60,000

52 59 60 39 46

$60,000-$80,000

47 60 69 52 29

Greater than $80,000

39 57 66 58 17

Establishments in which workers were paid more than $80,000, on average, were more than three times as likely as those paying less than $20,000 to have paid health insurance premiums for employees told not to work. Establishments paying more than $80,000 were more than four times as likely as those paying less than $20,000 to report increasing telework opportunities for workers. Telework was not available before or during the pandemic in 74 percent of establishments that paid workers less than $20,000, on average. This compared with 17 percent of establishments in which workers were paid more than $80,000.

These data are from the Business Response Survey to the Coronavirus Pandemic and are research estimates. This is a new survey of business establishments conducted between July and September 2020 to ask questions on business experiences and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey received responses from over 150,000 establishments for seven different questions. For more information, see "2020 Results of the Business Response Survey." Also see charts and tables of the latest Business Response Survey data.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 60 percent of businesses with average pay less than $20k told some staff not to work due to COVID-19 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/60-percent-of-businesses-with-average-pay-less-than-20k-told-some-staff-not-to-work-due-to-covid-19.htm (visited June 22, 2021).

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