Connecticut Voices for Children released a new report, “The State of Working Connecticut,” which outlines the need for progressive budget reform, highlights the depth and scope of the state’s economic problems, and provides policy options to address those problems. The combination of a shrunken economy with a highly inequitable distribution has weakened both the state’s fiscal standing and the standard of living for most families, and Connecticut’s economy is on track to grow slower than the U.S. economy during recovery from the recent recession if the state doesn’t act to ensure this doesn’t happen.
- Nearly 60 percent of Georgia’s pre-pandemic labor force have turned to the unemployment safety net at some point during the last year.
- In February 2021, unemployment claims for Black Georgians were 52 percent higher than those of all other filers, and 71 percent higher than those of white Georgians alone.
- Hispanic and Black women have experienced at least 15 percent underemployment since the pandemic, while underemployment for Black men was 18 percent in the first quarter of 2021, more than any other group in Georgia’s workforce.
Recent historic federal stimulus packages have extended critical unemployment safety net programs, provided immediate cash aid to millions of employed and unemployed Georgians and provided state and local funding to jumpstart Georgia’s recovery. As a result, state lawmakers have an opportunity to target federal and state funding to rebuild Georgia’s economy through racial and gender equity-centered solutions that can support economic mobility for all Georgians. However, more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, data shows how some Georgians are beginning to recover, while others have experienced little to no recovery at all.
In March 2020, almost overnight, businesses shut, schools closed, and jobs disappeared as we hunkered down to slow the spread of the hyper-contagious, deadly coronavirus. After a gradual reopening, infections spiked in the fall, and restrictions were renewed on socializing, travel, and business. If the future is uncertain, this much is clear: The COVID-19 pandemic ended the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, following the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.
But when the COVID-19 recession hit, many Vermonters had still not recovered from the previous recession. While real (inflation-adjusted) income for those at the top was up 8 percent, those at the bottom saw a 7 percent drop from 2007 to 2019. And there was no improvement in poverty or real median household income by the end of this recovery. To make matters worse, the financial crisis of 2007 followed three decades of stagnant income for many Vermonters along with rising health care, child care, and housing costs, and increasing inequality, as more and more wealth flowed to fewer and fewer people at the top.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alabama in March 2020, it didn’t just cause massive human suffering and economic disruption. It also revealed suffering and disruption that have long existed and that policymakers have long neglected – or even perpetuated.
COVID-19 has laid bare deep racial inequities in Alabama’s economy and social system that have left our state unprepared to meet the needs of its people in this disaster. As the workers predominantly on the front lines, women and people of color bore the brunt of the economic meltdown. They also simultaneously have suffered greater exposure to the virus that caused it.
Alabama has a weak safety net for struggling families and an approach to economic growth that all too often leaves workers underprotected and underpaid. This ongoing policy legacy has exacerbated the damage that the virus has wreaked on the state’s working people.
In The State of Working Alabama 2021, Alabama Arise explores COVID-19’s significant and negative impacts on the state’s workforce. We also look ahead to outline a state and federal policy agenda for repairing the damage – not by repeating the policy mistakes of the past, but by charting a new path toward a more equitable economy marked by broadly shared prosperity.