Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights for June 4:
- Nearly a quarter of the labor force has claimed unemployment since start of pandemic
- Black workers disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 job losses
- Republican lawmakers reconsidering stance on extending unemployment benefits
An additional 1.9 million file for unemployment
“For 11 weeks in a row, jobless claims have been in the millions. Before the pandemic, the labor department had never recorded a single week of jobless claims over a million.”
The Department of Labor has announced that an additional 1.9 million Americans filed for unemployment for the first time last week, bringing the total number up to 42.6 million people who have filed for jobless benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year. Initial claims peaked at 6.9 million during the last week of March.
The total number of jobless claims represents nearly a quarter of the entire workforce of this country.
Black workers especially impacted by economic crash
“The pandemic and related job losses have been especially devastating for black households. They have historically suffered from higher unemployment rates, lower wages, lower incomes, and much less savings to fall back on, as well as significantly higher poverty rates than their white counterparts.”
While approximately 1 in 5 American have lost their job, been furloughed or had their hours reduced during the public health crisis, the economic data shows that black workers have been especially impacted by the economic crash.
In August of last year, the unemployment rate was at a historic low of just over 5% for African American workers. In April, that number jumped to 16.7%, compared to the overall unemployment rate of 14.7%.
Republican lawmakers reconsidering stance on extending unemployment benefits
“I don’t think we can ignore the fact that this civil unrest is happening against a backdrop of 20-plus percent unemployment.”
We’re not the only ones talking about the unemployment numbers, thankfully.
After initially saying that they would block the House-led efforts to extend the length of expanded unemployment benefits, Republican lawmakers have signaled a new willingness to revisit the issue.
Though many still believe that the additional $600 per week of federal funds is too much, a growing number of Republicans think that some amount of federal assistance needs to continue — or that a back to work bonus of $450 should be offered as an incentive.