Employment Loss as a Result of COVID-19: a Nationwide Survey at the Onset of COVID-19 in US LGBTQ+ Populations

Richard J. Martino, Kristen D. Krause, Marybec Griffin, Caleb LoSchiavo, Camilla Comer-Carruthers, Perry N. Halkitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: The unemployment rate in the US reached record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, but little is known about the job loss experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals, who are already economically disadvantaged due to structural and social inequities. Methods: Cross-sectional data on unemployment due to COVID-19 were collected between May and July 2020 among 1090 individuals across the US through an online survey. Results: Respondents who had been employed prior to COVID-19 formed the analytic sample (n = 990). Of these, 298 (27.3%) reported job loss or being furloughed due to COVID-19. When controlling for all other factors, we found statistically significant higher rates of unemployment among younger participants, HIV-positive individuals, men, Black and White non-Hispanic participants, those with less educational attainment, and those in multi-person homes. Conclusions: The employment of LGBTQ+ people has been undermined by COVID-19, but as with all populations, those with multiple minority identities, such as Black or HIV+ and LGBTQ+, have been most severely affected. Policy Implications: LGBTQ+ populations in the US have experienced high levels of unemployment due to COVID-19. This study highlights the need for national data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity for unemployment as well as the need for substantive policies, such as expanding unemployment to assist in the economic recovery for populations most affected by COVID-19 and the Equality Act to offer further workplace protections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1855-1866
Number of pages12
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • COVID-19
  • Health equity
  • Sexual and gender minority
  • Unemployment


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