Young workers account for almost 30% of pandemic-related job losses in the Houston region

Blog post by Parker Harvey, Mingming Zhang, Jie Wu
November 16, 2020

Kinder Institute for Urban Research   (Houston)

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated several challenges related to securing economic and physical safety in many of Houston communities. Although the stay-at-home order in mid-March has helped control the spread of the virus (view COVID-19 cases here), it has brought the local economy to a halt. Initial jobless claims, e.g. claims for unemployment benefits filed by unemployed individuals with state unemployment agencies, have reached levels never before seen — both in Texas and across the nation.

In early May, many businesses in Texas were able to reopen in three phases. However, data suggests that nearly a quarter of all small businesses remain closed nationwide. Small businesses in the leisure and hospitality sectors have been hit the hardest. In Houston, about one-third of small businesses remain closed, and 58% of small businesses in the leisure and hospitality sectors report no transaction data.

Since the onset of the pandemic, job losses for 16- to 29-year-old workers in the Houston region have been concentrated in industries such as accommodation, food services and retail trade. Virtually 40% of those young claimants worked in the accommodation, food services and retail trade sectors before the pandemic. More than 8% of them worked for arts, entertainment or recreation businesses. Another 7% were employed in administrative and waste management services.