America in Focus

Unemployment – Impact of COVID-19 in the United States

Hardships and joblessness remain high in the United States due to COVID-19. Households were unable to catch up on rent payments, while others did not get enough to eat. Impact of the economic fallout was felt particularly across immigrants and Hispanic population. Recently, however, it was reported that the national economy saw at least 916,000 job gains across every state except two, which also had fewer payroll jobs than in February 2020. Yet, the country is still down than it was during the Great Recession of the 2000s, where employment is reduced by 5.5% and 8.4 million jobs as against February 2020.

While unemployment did see a turnaround in the months of February and March, job recovery has been losing momentum. The year 2020 saw a marked decline in overall economic activity with falling GDP rates across every state. The Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey recorded real-time data about the uncalled-for health crisis that affected the economy.

Lack of food

Households are having difficulty putting food on their table, and almost 9% of all adults across the country reported having meagre meals for the last seven days

Lack of food

Joblessness by sector

The Leisure and Hospitality industry was hit the hardest, and nationally, the Accommodation and Food Services sector is still scarce by 17% for its employment.

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation are down by around 28%.

Overall, the state government employment rates are down 5.7% from Feb 2020 to Mar 2021 in the country

Local government employment is down by 6.4%.

The Accommodation and Food Services Employment for March across Hawaii, Vermont and New York were down by at least 30%.

Combined the state and local governments were down by 1.2 million jobs.

Only the Finance and Insurance sector saw pre-COVID recovery levels of employment across 22 states.

In April 2020, unemployment rates in low-paid industries were high – it reached a level not visualised until the 1930s. Joblessness rose fast among individuals who are now U.S. citizens but born in another country when compared those born within the U.S. The lowest-paying industries accounted for 30% of all job losses. Industries that pay low average wages saw most of the job loss crisis – latest data from the Labour Department revealed 56% jobs lost from Feb 2020 to Mar 2021.

Job Losses

In comparison

It cannot be denied that there has been an economic recovery after a slump in the last half of 2020 that ran into Jan 2021. A pickup was noticed in February and March, but compared to the Great Recession, in total employment, at least 27 states are down by more jobs when taken into account peak employment to the lowest point. As against the Great Recession 46 states are still down more jobs in Accommodation and services. The stats also indicate Health Care and Social Assistance down 31, local government down 42 and 31 down in state government also in comparison to the Great Recession.

Monthly Job Change - Covid Recession

Recovery Plans

The prevalence of COVID-19 and the federal government’s response will both influence the path of the economy in the United States. Massive job losses were noticed during the first flood of cases, early in 2020. After an initial impact, and consequent responses by businesses, individuals and the federal government, the economy did bounce back. But then again, the cases rose and the federal government support teetered off and slowed the economy during the next half of 2020 up until January 2021. February and March, recently showed upward movement and optimism. The economy regained with some positive momentum as the health situation grew. The country aims to see sustained progress and an end to the unemployment and economic crisis.

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