by Maurie Backman | Feb. 9, 2021
President Biden wants to send out more relief to the public. These points prove it's sorely needed.
Many Americans have struggled with income loss during the coronavirus pandemic. For some, that income loss was extreme. As such, a lot of people have depleted their savings since March of 2020 and are now in a much worse situation, financially speaking, than they were almost a year ago.
President Joe Biden recognizes how severe the current economic crisis is, and to this end, he's looking to provide relief in the form of a $1.9 trillion aid package. His proposal calls for coronavirus pandemic aid in the form of extended and boosted unemployment benefits as well as a round of $1,400 stimulus checks.
Some lawmakers have criticized Biden's aid package as being too generous. But when we look at how Americans are faring at this stage of the pandemic, it's pretty clear that more relief is needed. Here are four sobering statistics that make the case for a robust aid package.
The U.S. unemployment rate reached a record high in April of 2020 and has since improved significantly. But even so, Americans are down a whopping 8.5 million jobs since the beginning of the pandemic. Some of the hardest-hit industries include hotels, restaurants, and retailers. Because these industries tend to employ a lot of women, female workers have lost around 700,000 more jobs than men since the pandemic began.
By contrast, 61% of adults were employed before the pandemic began. And while some people may have opted out of the workforce by choice over the past 10 months (for example, some older workers may have retired early), many are still struggling to find jobs.
Small businesses don't just benefit the people who own them -- they also help communities thrive. They can lead to increased property values and more local jobs, so losing small businesses is a major blow. While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has provided forgivable loans to many small businesses, a large number of local establishments have been forced to shutter. This especially holds true for restaurants, which haven't benefited as much from the PPP because those loans are more suited for businesses that spend a lot of money on payroll, which isn't as large an expense for eateries.
Food insecurity was a problem before the coronavirus pandemic, but the ongoing crisis has made things exponentially worse for a lot of families. This is especially true for households that used to rely on schools to provide no-cost meals to their children. (Since many school districts are operating remotely, those meals may no longer be available.) Thankfully, Biden signed an executive order that allows states to expand access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture will also look to increase funding for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, which provides meals to children who normally get them through school.
The U.S. economy has a long recovery ahead of it, and the same holds true for countless individual households. While some lawmakers may be hesitant to dish out massive amounts of aid, it's clear that a lot of people could use a lifeline right about now. And a round of $1,400 checks landing in bank accounts could help a lot of struggling households get by in the near term.
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