Minority unemployment is in double digits, and white unemployment is a single digit in the United States. Furthermore, policymakers are cutting federal unemployment insurance by triple digits. All in all, the country found itself in a situation like the one it faced amid the Great Recession. Just as then, now minorities bear the brunt of the recession. Just as then, now policymakers are failing to account for that fact. Doing so, the threat to reinforce the United States’ long-simmering racial inequalities.
At 8.4 percent, the national unemployment rate fell to single digits in August. Nevertheless, the number conceals the racially stratified economy of America. The Hispanic unemployment rate fell at 10.5 percent, the rate for Asian Americans was at 10.7 percent, the black unemployment rate was at 13.0 percent, and white unemployment fell to 7.3 percent in August. The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that.
Congress has yet to approve another round of stimulus funding, with unemployment of people of color still incredibly high. The terms lawmakers discuss would be less generous than earlier rounds of the stimulus. Republicans suggest setting the federal unemployment insurance benefit in their ‘skinny’ stimulus bill. Before the program expired in August – to $300, it gave Americans receiving unemployment an extra $600 a week.
Congressional Democrats remained adamant that a $600 per week benefit is necessary. Jason Furman is a former Obama economic council. Now he is a Democratic policy adviser. So, he pushed Democratic lawmakers to compromise. Thus, Furman suggested an extended unemployment program be reinstated at $400 per week.
Problem of Unemployment
Furman wrote on Twitter that the $600 a week boost to weekly unemployment checks could have made sense when the economy has shut down. Nevertheless, it should change with an unemployment rate of 8.4%. The President’s $400 is reasonable. However, the Senate needs to pass it for it to be real.
Nevertheless, other experts disagree. They are pointing to the higher unemployment rate for people of color.
William Spriggs works for the union group AFL-CIO. He is a chief economist there. So, Spriggs wrote in an email to Vox, that Jason’s call is tone-deaf.
Furthermore, Spriggs noted that not only is unemployment high for people of color, but there is a growing number of permanent job losses. Thus, it signals that the labor market will continue recovery in a slow recovering tempo. Moreover, there are familiar with color that has fewer liquid assets than white families. Thus, it is necessary to give a $600 unemployment benefit.
The combination of absent government stimulus and financial hardship is crushing for many Americans living this reality. Last week, a new NPR poll found out that seventy percent of Latinos in Los Angeles have experienced severe financial problems. It is because of the job losses and other economic impacts amid the pandemic. To minority communities and policymakers, one thing is obvious: Top-line statistics can not capture all the events happening in a racially stratified economy. Thus, policymakers should consider that in their stimulus.
It seemed that American policymakers had learned from their Great Recession mistakes in the early days of the coronavirus recession. Nevertheless, it is not true.