STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the October 2020 Jobs Report

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the October 2020 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

With a pandemic raging and a contentious election winding down, this month’s jobs numbers show that the recovery has slowed considerably with only about half of jobs recovered. Today’s numbers also underplay the true jobs crisis. The unemployment rate today would be much higher if not for the millions of Americans who have stopped looking for work entirely while hiring is down. Economists agree that the economy cannot recover until the coronavirus is under control, and at-risk sectors account for the majority of job gains in October. Yet due to the Trump administration’s willful mismanagement of the public health crisis, daily COVID-19 cases have doubled in the three weeks since these data were collected.

Today’s data also show that economic pain is hitting some groups very hard. The number of long-term unemployed Americans has increased dramatically over the last two months, and the unemployment rates for people of color remain significantly higher than for white Americans. This is especially true for women of color: The unemployment rate for Black women is 9.2 percent, and the unemployment rate for Latinas is 9 percent.

The urgent need for government action is clear: Millions of unemployed workers’ benefits have been reduced and now are expiring, renters are facing eviction, school districts are facing enormous budget shortfalls, and states don’t have the resources they need to effectively distribute a vaccine when one is ready. States and cities are also facing massive budget shortfalls that are already causing a drag on the economy; collectively, cities and states have already laid off 1 million workers. We need to overcome the callous indifference that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Trump administration have shown over the nearly six months since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act. We cannot take the risk that aid will again be subject to arbitrary cutoff dates; instead, it must be tied to economic indicators to strengthen the U.S. economy by ensuring that families and businesses can reliably get the relief they need. McConnell has paid lip service to the urgency of passing a package by the end of the year, and Senate Republicans must follow through to be part of the solution, not a source of obstruction.

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