November 15, 2021

Report: Ithaca economy shouldn’t return to business as usual

As the pandemic recedes and the local economy reopens, workforce leaders shouldn’t settle for a return to business as usual, a faculty-led report advises officials in Tompkins County, home of Cornell’s Ithaca campus.

“That’s a temptation across the country,” said Ian Greer, M.S. ’03, Ph.D. ’05, senior research associate in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and director of ILR’s Ithaca Co-Lab. “We don’t think that’s a good idea. One reason is that the labor market we had before the pandemic was extremely unequal.”

For example, consistent with national trends, workers of color were significantly less likely to earn a living wage than white counterparts in Tompkins County, the report’s research determined, with nearly 70% of Black workers making less than $15.37 an hour compared with just over 30% of whites. Workers of color also…

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