Who are our front line workers? Thanks to some timely work by Sarah Austin, a policy analyst from the Maine Center for Economic Policy, we have a pretty good idea.
She teased out Maine data from a national study that looked at six industries that have been classified as “essential” during the coronavirus response. They are grocery, convenience and drug stores; public transit; trucking, warehouse and postal service; building cleaning services; health care; and child care and social services.
In Maine, those industries employ about 160,000 people, nearly a quarter of the total workforce. More than two-thirds (68 percent) are women, and about 40 percent are over age 50.
As a group, front line workers are more likely to come from low-income households than the workforce as a whole. They are also slightly less likely to have health insurance than other workers.