The U.S. economy may be slowly pulling itself out of the doldrums inflicted by social distancing and government lockdown orders promoted as efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, but many Americans continue to suffer.
Half of Americans who lost their job because of the pandemic are still out of work, and the resulting damage to finances falls hardest—as you might expect—on lower-income people who have little cushion against hard times. That’s something to keep in mind as politicians contemplate renewed restrictions, especially given the potential for economic pain to worsen already-simmering social tensions.
“Overall, 25 percent of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak, with 15 percent saying this happened to them personally,” Pew Research reported last week. “Of those who say they personally lost a job, half say they are still unemployed, a third have returned to their old job and 15 percent are in a different job than before.”
What makes the situation even worse is that the burden falls hardest on those who can least afford it. “Lower-income adults who were laid off due to the coronavirus are less likely to be working now than middle- and upper-income adults who lost their jobs (43 percent vs. 58 percent),” Pew adds.