ISSUE 65 | June 5, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Coronavirus hinders census efforts to reach hard-to-count Latino households in central PA
Response rates to the 2020 Census have been lower than average in several cities throughout central Pennsylvania.

Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York – all with relatively large Latino populations – have had lower self-response rates than neighboring municipalities.

This is partly due to disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, and partly because the Census Bureau has had difficulty reaching Latino communities.

Regional unemployment shatters records
Unemployment in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metropolitan statistical area has reached 18.4 percent – the highest rate since the metro region was defined in 1976.

Previously, the region’s highest recorded unemployment rate was 13.6 percent in 1983, following a global energy crisis.

According to University of Scranton economist Dr. Satyajit Ghosh, unemployment could rise as high as 28 percent.

PA Department of Revenue announces decrease of nearly 20 percent in May tax collections
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Pennsylvania has reported a nearly 20-percent shortfall in May tax revenues.

The Department of Revenue estimates that the majority of this shortfall results from reduced economic activity, although a large portion can be attributed to moving deadlines for the collection of certain taxes.

Personal income and corporation taxes experienced the largest declines in May.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
The core function of The Institute is to share data-driven insights that spark action – the type of action that reforms policy and strengthens community.

That’s why The Institute is committed to applying a racial equity lens to all proprietary and community-based research, with the hope that it will reveal and help dismantle the inherent power dynamics that facilitate the racism and violence behind the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, an exploration of the factors promoting inequities in Northeast Pennsylvania is underway. It is one of many steps in the process of transforming outrage into systemic change and lasting impact.
Poor neighborhoods are only getting poorer
According to new research from the Economic Innovation Group, the number of poor neighborhoods in metropolitan areas has doubled since 1980, and the majority of low-income neighborhoods face growing poverty.

The researchers found that American cities have increasingly segregated by income in the last 50 years.

New data suggest COVID-19 is widening housing disparities by race and income
The U.S. Census Bureau has released new data suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic is widening racial and economic disparities in housing insecurity.

Prior to the pandemic, people of color and low-income households disproportionately struggled to find stable and affordable housing.

Now, the economic effects of COVID-19 have harmed these populations most.

This is largely because people of color are overrepresented in low-wage occupations and jobs that cannot transition to remote work.

Analysis bares striking racial divide in the ways COVID-19 has hit nursing homes
Nursing homes throughout the United States have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and their residents have comprised more than 20 percent of virus-related deaths.

According to an analysis in the New York Times, nursing homes with large shares of black and Latino residents have been hit significantly harder than those with mostly white residents – regardless of the facilities’ locations, sizes, and government ratings. 

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