STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the August 2020 Jobs Report
Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the August 2020 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The U.S. Department of Labor reported this morning that the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent as the economy, bolstered by temporary Census hiring, added 1.4 million jobs in August. Even now, Donald Trump remains the worst jobs president in recorded American history. Thanks to the administration’s chaotic and inadequate response to the coronavirus, millions of people across the country are struggling to put food on the table, and there are still over 2 million more people out of work today than during the depths of the Great Recession. The economic crisis is also disproportionately harming those who have long-faced discrimination in the labor market: The unemployment rate for Black men is 13.2 percent–more than 1 in 8. The rate for Latinas is 10.5 percent. It is also worth noting that, throughout much of the country, the out-of-control virus is making it is unsafe to send children to school. This is forcing millions of parents, disproportionately women, into jobs they did not sign up for—unpaid homeschool teachers. This will force some parents out of the labor market and make it harder for others to regain the jobs they have lost.
Rarely have economists and public health experts been so clearly aligned on the need for another large relief package that would help get the virus under control and allow people to return safely to school and work. The Trump administration, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and their allies in Congress have ignored them. Instead, they are watching their fellow Americans lose their jobs and their lives while actively blocking any meaningful legislation. In the more than 100 days since the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act with bipartisan support, more than 4.6 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus, an additional 95,000 Americans have died, and more than 21 million Americans have filed for unemployment. The country needs additional benefits for unemployed workers, aid for state and local governments, and resources for hospitals and health care workers, which the House HEROES Act provides.
What the Trump administration and Leader McConnell have proposed thus far is piecemeal, insufficient, hard for states to deliver, and will do little to help the economy recover. Although the time to act was months ago, lives and livelihoods can still be saved by passing a significant relief package now. Without this relief, there is a growing consensus that the White House and the Senate’s inaction may trap the nation in a long-lasting recession.
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