Economic Studies & COVID-19

Economy weakens: Initial unemployment claims for the week ending November 21 totaled 778,000, up from 742,000 claims the previous week, and still above the pre-pandemic record high of 695,000 set in 1982. The uptick, weaker credit card spending, and a decline in restaurant reservations are seen as warning signs of a weakening economy

Not so merry Christmas: Fully 12 million Americans will lose jobless benefitsprovided through the CARES Act by the end of the year, according to the Century Foundation

Data helps states: The Urban Institute has created a tool monitoring states’ changing economic conditions during the coronavirus crisis. 

Housing insecurity on the rise: Black Voice News examines housing insecurity for Black renters in California amid the pandemic, while also noting that “55 percent of Black renters paid more than 30 percent of their income to housing compared to 43 percent of white renters.” 

Renters falling behind: In early November, 33 percent of Black renters, 17 percent of Latina/o renters, and 16 percent of Asian renters said they were behind on rent, compared with 14 percent of white renters according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Urban Institute offers four policy principles to ensure equitable housing access is free of structurally racist practices.

Paths to better jobs: The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities offers four steps states can take to retool their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) employment programs because research shows that most recipients, the majority of whom are Black women and Latinas, leave the program for low-paying, unstable jobs. 

A to-do list for equity: Third Way urges the Biden administration to do 21 things in 2021, including establishing equity watchdogs for a vaccination campaign, extending temporary unemployment insurance, and securing housing for families. Third Way notes that Black Americans have contracted COVID-19 three times more often than Whites; Black and Latina/o Americans have seen higher rates of unemployment, and more Black and Latina/o adults have lived in households that were behind on rent during the pandemic. 

Fighting to survive: Black business owners are “stalwarts of the community who carry on despite the obstacles,” says Washington Post personal finance writer Michelle Singletary in a post on how Black business owners are fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic.