Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, was cited in Los Angeles Times and USA Today articles about economic hardships among Asian Americans in the United States. Many hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and beauty salons were forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic, and a report by Ong found that Asian Americans accounted for one in four workers within those sectors. Now, long-term unemployment levels among Asian Americans have been exacerbated by a surge in anti-Asian sentiment. Among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, Asians have the largest income gap between the top and bottom 10%, and this trend has been accelerated by the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic. Ong explained that Los Angeles’ Chinatown “was hit earlier, even before the lockdowns, and it lost much more business and has recovered much more slowly,” a trend also seen in New York and San Francisco.
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