A better way is to look at the trend among all Americans age 25 or older. In December 2019, 53 percent of these Americans with a high school education or less were employed. By December 2020, that dropped to 48 percent. That means that one out of every 20 has lost employment in the past year. A fifth of those losses occurred in November and December.
[The covid-19 recession is the most unequal in modern U.S. history]
These workers tend to be concentrated in the sort of industries that are most directly affected by government restrictions in response to covid-19, such as eating and drinking places, construction and hotels.
Such restrictions became more common over the winter. In November and December, 13 states and the District of Columbia closed or restricted nonessential businesses, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Seven states and D.C. closed indoor dining in the same time period.