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Work and the Coronavirus

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Helping people understand how COVID-19 affects work and employment by sharing insights and help from ILR's workplace experts.

COVID-19 Labor Market Impacts Discussed

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ILR professors and Outreach associates answered questions offered by an audience of about 500 Cornell students and others in an April 29 panel entitled “Impacts of COVID-19 on the Labor Market.”

Organized and hosted by Emily Blanchard ’21 and Hanni Wiegand ’22, student workers in the ILR Office of Student Services, the event was moderated by ILR Dean Alex Colvin, who noted that a number workers have used strikes to make their needs heard during the the pandemic.

Professor George Boyer, an economic historian, warned that declines in coronavirus cases will likely be followed by upticks.

Professor Risa Lieberwitz noted that the pandemic disproportionately impacts communities of color in the United States. “We must use this moment to either commit ourselves or to recommit ourselves to social change for the present and — as importantly — in the future.”

Nellie Brown, director of Workplace Health and Safety Programs for ILR’s Worker Institute at the ILR School, addressed shortages of personal protective equipment in the United States.

Professor Rose Batt said that inequality will increase during the pandemic if profiteers exploiting the crisis for their own gain aren’t held in check.

Russell Weaver, an economic geographer with the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab, said current labor market uncertainties could make finding an entry-level job difficult.

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