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The Importance of Extending Both the Payroll Tax Cut and Emergency Unemployment Benefits for Communities of Color

By the Numbers

SOURCE: AP/ Mark Lennihan

Failure to extend the temporary payroll tax cut and emergency unemployment benefits would have a devastating effect on communities of color, which have been hit hardest by the Great Recession.

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See also: The Importance of Extending Both the Payroll Tax Cut and Emergency Unemployment Benefits, No Time to End Unemployment Benefits by Heather Boushey, Payroll Tax Cuts by the Numbers: State-by-State Analysis, Our Economy Needs Help Now by Heather Boushey (The Hill)

This week Congress will vote on extending the temporary payroll tax cut for 160 million American workers. And then it will likely consider extending emergency unemployment benefits that support those workers and local economies affected the worst by the Great Recession. Failure to extend these two critical measures by December 31 will depress U.S. economic output by about 1 percent, raise our risk of slipping back into recession, and cause disproportionate economic harm to communities of color. These communities suffer from greater economic insecurity than the population at large, evidenced by higher unemployment rates and significant disparities in wealth.

Congress must vote to extend both measures through 2012. Here’s a by-the-numbers list of the reasons why.

Payroll tax

15 million: An extension and expansion of the payroll tax cut would help increase the paychecks of more than 15 million African American workers.

21 million: The extension of the payroll tax cut would help increase the paychecks of nearly 21 million Hispanic workers.

$993: The average annual benefit paid to African American workers, according to the proposed 3.1 percent payroll tax.

$1,401: The average annual benefit paid to Asian American workers, according to the proposed 3.1 percent payroll tax.

$879: The average annual benefit paid to the Hispanic worker, according to the proposed 3.1 percent payroll tax.

$1.25: The amount of economic growth generated by every dollar spent on a payroll tax holiday.

Unemployment

1.2 million: The number of African Americans who will benefit from an extension of unemployment benefits.*

1 million: The number of Hispanics who will benefit from an extension of unemployment benefits.*

48 percent: The percentage of unemployed African Americans over the age of 16 who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer as of October 2011.

49 percent: The percentage of unemployed Asian Americans over the age of 16 who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer as of October 2011.

39 percent: The percentage of unemployed Hispanics over the age of 16 who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer as of October 2011.

$1.52: The amount of economic growth generated by every dollar spent on unemployment benefits.

See also:

*Note that this is the number of individuals who have been out of work for 6 months or longer.

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