Over the last decade, fast-food restaurants have proliferated in the United States, with the largest increase in Los Angeles County. Fast food is an integral part of the food sector in Los Angeles, comprising nearly 150,000 restaurant workers. This report investigates working conditions in fast food prior to the pandemic, profiles the industry’s demographics and cost to the public, and examines the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
Policy Research Specialist
Kuochih Huang joined the Labor Center’s Low-Wage Work Program team in July 2020. Originally from Taiwan, Kuochih earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has conducted research for several labor organizations in Taiwan. Prior to graduate school, Kuochih worked as an assistant research fellow at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), and a journalist covering public policy issues.
Physical Proximity to Others in California’s Workplaces: Occupational Estimates and Demographic and Job Characteristics
In this research brief, we build on our previous research on essential workers, but use new data and broaden the analysis to the full range of occupations in the California labor market to help answer these questions: As the economy reopens, what levels of COVID-19 exposure risk will workers face when they return to their workplace? What are the demographic characteristics of these workers? And what jobs do they hold?
“Women lost their jobs by far more than men because either their position was affected by the pandemic, or because they needed to quit their job or reduce their work hours because they needed to take care of their children,” Huang said.
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing improved employment figures for women. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. The dual shocks of employment and child care loss continue to threaten decades of progress in women’s labor market participation and earnings.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of the California labor force would be considered as being employed in occupations of close proximity, according to a Nov. 30 study from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.