DNC on Latest Unemployment Numbers
August 20, 2020
DNC Chair and former labor secretary Tom Perez released the following statement after more than 1 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment last week:
“We are going in the wrong direction. Over 170,000 Americans have died and a million more file for unemployment each week. And yet, Donald Trump and his advisors are calling this a ‘very strong’ economic rebound. This administration still can’t wrap its head around a cold hard truth: our economy cannot recover until we deal with this pandemic. For months now, Donald Trump has floated his fairy tale that this virus will disappear on its own, despite the dire warnings of public health experts that it will only get worse without bold action. The White House continues to drag its feet, cutting unemployment benefits, and letting small businesses fail.
“The American people cannot take this president’s inaction and incompetence any longer. As we’ve seen through this week’s convention, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a plan to end this pandemic, revitalize our economy, and help us build back better.”
Trump cut unemployment benefits in half, and in addition to getting less money, out-of-work Americans may only get benefits for three weeks.
Washington Post: “Out-of-work Americans may see only a three-week boost to their unemployment benefits, as state and federal officials scramble to stretch out a limited pot of money and implement President Trump’s recent policy order.”
The White House is dragging its feet on providing more unemployment relief because they claim the economy is rebounding “very, very strongly” and we have a “self-sustaining recovery.”
KUDLOW: “The U.S. economy is rebounding ‘very, very strongly,’ and fresh federal aid will reach unemployed Americans in the next week or two, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday, shaking off concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 infections.”
KUDLOW: “‘I think the economy is on a self-sustaining recovery and it’s a V-shaped recovery,’ he said. ‘We’re seeing terrific numbers.’”
For 22 consecutive weeks, more people have filed for unemployment benefits than during the single worst week of the Great Recession.
University of Michigan professor Justin Wolfers: “We are now at 22 weeks in a row in which more people have filed for unemployment benefits than during the single worst week of the Great Recession.”
Wall Street Journal: “But both figures remain above the worst before the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of people receiving benefits more than double the 6.6 million reached in 2009.”
28 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment relief.
CNN: “All in all, nearly 28.1 million Americans were claiming benefits under the various government programs available in the week ending August 1, only about 200,000 fewer than in the previous week.”
16.3 million Amerians are unemployed and the pace of job growth slowed considerably in July.
Reuters: “July U.S. employment growth slows sharply.”
Fox Business: “The U.S. economy added 1.8 million jobs in July even as a wave of new coronavirus cases forced most states to pause or reverse their reopenings, causing a slight pullback in hiring. Still, the payroll increase reported Friday by the Labor Department was well below the 4.8 million jobs created in June, which was the highest recorded.”
The unemployment rate is still higher than the peak of the Great Recession, and would be even higher if not for ongoing misclassification issues in the data.
Politico: “The unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in July, the Labor Department reported Friday. That’s down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April, but still far above the 3.5 percent rate in February before the coronavirus pandemic led to mass economic shutdowns across the country.”
GDP fell by an unprecedented 32.9% annualized rate last quarter — more than three times the previous record.
Politico: “The U.S. economy crashed in historic fashion this year — shrinking at a nearly 33 percent annualized pace in the second quarter — as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged businesses and sent joblessness soaring.”
National Public Radio: “The economic shock in April, May and June was more than three times as sharp as the previous record — 10% in 1958 — and nearly four times the worst quarter during the Great Recession.”
More than 100,000 small businesses have closed for good, with Black-owned businesses shutting down at twice the rate.
Washington Post: “More than 100,000 small businesses have closed forever as the nation’s pandemic toll escalates”
Bloomberg: “Black-owned small businesses are twice as likely to shutter as small businesses overall during the coronavirus pandemic … Data show a 41% drop in the number of active small business owners who are Black from February to April, compared to 22% of owners overall, according to the study. Latinx business owners fell by 32%, while Asian business owners dropped 26% and white business owners retreated 17%.”