ISSUE 59 | APRIL 23, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Migrant workers on Pennsylvania farms are at high risk
According to experts and advocates, Pennsylvania is not adequately protecting migrant farmworkers from the coronavirus.

  • Thousands of seasonal migrant workers live and work at farm labor camps, where they are often housed in overcrowded units that do not allow for social distancing.

  • This population may also be vulnerable because lack healthcare and face language barriers to information about disease prevention.

State begins releasing some prisoners temporarily

To reduce prison populations and prevent coronavirus outbreaks, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has begun temporarily releasing non-violent prison inmates who are near the ends of their sentences.

As of the writing of this article, there were no confirmed cases of the virus among inmates in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Self-employed Pennsylvanians face high-stakes choices
Self-employed Pennsylvanians must make difficult and sometimes confusing decisions regarding the assistance they will receive from the federal stimulus package.

  • Many may qualify for programs targeted toward business owners, like the Paycheck Protection Program.

  • However, participation in these programs may prevent workers from filing for unemployment compensation or participating in employment assistance programs.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Businesses owned by women and minorities have grown. Will COVID-19 undo that?
A brief from the Brookings Institution examines the relationship between two small business crises - the impact of COVID-19 and the long-term, structural exclusion of women and minorities from entrepreneurship.

The authors claim that while minority- and women-owned businesses are at the most immediate risk from the current recession, they may not benefit as much as other businesses from the federal government’s economic relief programs.

A prediction on how much poverty could rise
A study from Columbia University suggests that the pandemic may cause poverty in the United States to rise to the highest level in 50 years, exceeding the increase in poverty that resulted from the Great Recession.

According to the researchers, if quarterly unemployment reaches 30 percent, over 15 percent of Americans could fall into poverty.

Supporting renters during COVID-19 is critical for housing market stability
The coronavirus affects people’s ability to pay rent, and many were struggling to afford housing prior to the pandemic —in 2018, nearly half of all renters in the U.S. spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing.

A recent report from the Urban Institute recommends that state, local, and federal government agencies provide financial assistance to renters. Such support would also benefit landlords, who rely on rent to pay mortgages and maintain their properties.

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