The COVID-19 crisis has brought renewed attention to the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy. Immigrants disproportionately work in the jobs labeled “essential” during the spring lockdowns in 2020, placing many of them on the front lines of the crisis. While initially immigrants were more negatively impacted by the coronavirus recession, immigrants are once again poised to play a vital role in the economic recovery and future economic growth. Their spending power, relative youth, high levels of involvement in STEM fields, and high rates of entrepreneurship make them key contributors to our economy.

The COVID outbreak caused the fastest and one of the deepest economic collapses in modern U.S. history, but the pain has not been spread equally across the economy. The restaurant industry and its workers have been hit especially hard with 2.5 million jobs lost since February—one in four of the 10 million jobs lost in the overall economy. If the economy as a whole had suffered the same level of job losses as the restaurant industry, that would translate into 30 million jobs lost instead of the 10 million it has lost since February. More than 110,000 restaurants—about one in six—have closed permanently or long term. The situation threatens to worsen as new U.S. COVID cases exceed 1.5 million each week.

The reason for this collapse is clear: science has shown that COVID can be spread by tiny particles that are expelled into the air when people talk or even breathe. These aerosols can remain in an enclosed area like a restaurant for a long time. For this reason, indoor dining is an especially risky activity, which has led to a sharp decline in demand for indoor dining by consumers as well as orders by state and local governments to limit or even ban it. The situation is likely to deteriorate this winter as COVID cases surge, Americans fear dining out, state and local regulations increase and weather curtails outdoor dining.

Restaurants are especially vulnerable because they are more likely to be small businesses. Small businesses typically lack the cash reserves and access to credit that larger businesses have, which makes going over a year with only a fraction of normal revenue untenable for many. The collapse in restaurant employment disproportionately affects women and Latinos while immigrant restaurant owners are especially vulnerable. Many small, independently owned restaurants will not survive without further relief. Americans will eventually begin to eat out again, but the question is whether the restaurants they eat in will be owned by large chains or small-business owners.

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The combined health and economic shocks of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic have led to an unprecedented mental health crisis. A recent poll finds that two-thirds of Americans fear that they or their loved ones will be exposed to the virus. More than 12 million Americans are unemployed and since February, over 5 million more have given up looking for work. Almost one-third of adult Americans that they are having trouble paying for usual household expenses. This economic reality may worsen when emergency unemployment benefits expire at the end of the year.

As a result of these pressures, a recent online survey of almost 100,000 households by the U.S. Census Bureau found that more than one-third of American adults report symptoms of depressive and/or anxiety disorder — triple the rate reported in 2019. In June, another well-regarded survey found that more than 1 in 10 U.S. adults had considered suicide in the past 30 days, more than double what was reported in 2019. Tragically, confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States continue to grow, with no clear end to the pandemic in sight. The nation’s failure to contain the coronavirus and stabilize the economy likely will have a deep and lasting impact on Americans’ mental health.

The combined health and economic shocks of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic have led to an unprecedented mental health crisis. A recent poll finds that two-thirds of Americans fear that they or their loved ones will be exposed to the virus. More than 12 million Americans are unemployed and since February, over 5 million more have given up looking for work. Almost one-third of adult Americans that they are having trouble paying for usual household expenses. This economic reality may worsen when emergency unemployment benefits expire at the end of the year.

As a result of these pressures, a recent online survey of almost 100,000 households by the U.S. Census Bureau found that more than one-third of American adults report symptoms of depressive and/or anxiety disorder — triple the rate reported in 2019. In June, another well-regarded survey found that more than 1 in 10 U.S. adults had considered suicide in the past 30 days, more than double what was reported in 2019. Tragically, confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States continue to grow, with no clear end to the pandemic in sight. The nation’s failure to contain the coronavirus and stabilize the economy likely will have a deep and lasting impact on Americans’ mental health.

In recent decades, the Hispanic community has experienced a great deal of economic progress while facing daunting challenges. However, Hispanics have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken approximately 40,000 Hispanic lives to date and had a disproportionate economic impact on the Hispanic community. The crisis has revealed stark inequalities that must be addressed as part of federal efforts to contain the virus and spur a robust economic recovery.

The more than 60 million Hispanics living in the United States — making up just over 18% of the population — have made significant contributions and progress in the economy. Before the pandemic, an increasing number of Hispanics were starting businesses, taking on professional leadership roles and continuing to make meaningful contributions across the U.S. economy. Hispanics achieved notable gains in educational attainment: the percent of Hispanics with a bachelor’s degree or higher nearly doubled in the last two decades. According to a 2018 study by Brookings, Hispanics were 22% of the American middle class.

However, Hispanics also face inequities and challenges. Despite having a higher level of employment, they were more than two times as likely to live in poverty as Whites, even before the pandemic. In 2018, the median total income of Hispanic households was nearly $20,000 less than that of White households, and the median net worth of Hispanic households was only one-eighth that of White households. More Hispanic children were dependent on food nutrition programs to alleviate hunger.