Panama City workers hit hard by low wages and shutdown

Florida Coronavirus News

FILE – In this March 16, 2020 file photo, chairs hang stacked on empty tables at a closed restaurant in New York. Small business owners across the country waited again Wednesday, April 8, to receive loan money under the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief program. Despite a few reports that some companies had received their loans, the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of owners who began applying for the loans on Friday were still in limbo. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Researchers at Volusion, a business that assists start-up businesses, say many workers in Panama City were already dealing with low wages when they were hit by the coronavirus shut down.

“The crisis disproportionately affects the 21.3% of American workers in retail, leisure, and hospitality who not only face lack of work, but also suffer from long-standing, below-average wages,” Volusion wrote in a news release. “According to the latest annual data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for workers in the retail trade and leisure and hospitality sectors was just $19.70 and $16.55 in 2019, compared to $28 per hour across all workers.”

According to Volusion Panama City is ninth among small American cities with the most retail, leisure and hospitality workers. The Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and Destin was sixth.

“Even though the last few years have seen a modest decline in the share of workers in these two sectors overall, more than one-fifth of all U.S. workers were employed in either retail trade or leisure and hospitality in 2019, totaling over 32 million workers,” officials wrote.

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