On today’s show we’re talking about a topic that’s on every landlord’s mind. Which tenants will pay their rent on April 1?

Part of anticipating the answer to that question is understanding who is still at work, and who has been laid off.

There no question that this economic downturn will not affect everyone equally. If there’s a physical component to your work, chances are good that you’re going to be impacted. This means almost anyone in the consumer retail world, unless you’ve been deemed an essential service.

Well a new report issued today by the folks at apartmentlist.com attempts to model and quantify the demographics.

In this new “quarantine economy,” working from home is the most impactful thing workers can do to ensure job stability. But while remote work is becoming more popular over time, access is not universal. A much larger share of high-income earners have this luxury; many lower-wage employees do not.

  • The quarantine economy creates four categories of workers, each facing varying levels of economic risk. The greatest risk is felt by those whose jobs a) are considered “non-essential” by local shelter-in-place laws and b) cannot be fulfilled at home. This includes many service sector employees, retail workers, and early educators. They tend to be lower-income, face higher housing cost burden, and have lower access to health insurance if they get sick.
  • Regionally, high-risk workers comprise a larger share of the workforce in cities rooted in the tourism and service industries, particularly Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando. Places with a high concentration of knowledge economy jobs and/or essential blue-collar industries will fare better, including metros like San Jose, Detroit, and Boston.
  • Federal and state governments are rushing to pass legislation that will protect public health while reinvigorating the economy. In the meantime, job and housing insecurity will disproportionately affect millions of American workers in lower socioeconomic strata.

There are four categories.

  • Secure jobs are the least threatened. They are not only essential to the economy but also flexible in their working arrangements. These workers are likely to retain their usual income while also practicing social distancing that will keep themselves and their families at low risk of coronavirus exposure. These are folks like financial analysts, accountants, and those who operate the community infrastructure like power plants and water treatment plants.
  • Low-Risk jobs provide shelter from the coronavirus, but carry some risk of economic uncertainty. These workers can easily transition to a remote environment but their paychecks may be in jeopardy if demand for their skills weakens in an economic downturn. These are folks like software developers,
  • Exposed jobs are those that are deemed essential, but must be done in person. These jobs generally offer economic stability during the crisis, but may increase individual exposure to health risks. These workers cannot shelter-in-place while working because the nature of their job requires leaving home and engaging in some level of personal contact. The list of essential services varies from one state or province to the next. Where I live, the list of essential services is about 70 items long.
  • High-Risk jobs are the most economically at-risk in the quarantine economy. These workers are deemed “non-essential” by federal guidelines and furthermore do not have the option to work from home. Heavily concentrated in the service sector, the incomes of many high-risk workers are already in jeopardy today. This includes restaurant wait staff, hair stylists, tour guides, flight attendants and hotel staff.