Some are celebrating today’s job report, but as you’ll see, there’s still a lot of damage left to fix.
Most importantly, while there was a “gain” of 2 million + jobs, this mainly came from the “on temporary layoff” category. Meaning, I was never really fired but my dentist office or restaurant was closed for several weeks and now it’s back open.
Permanent job losers actually increased this month to nearly 2.3 million people. While the U.S. starts to open back up, we need 15 million more people to go back to work – the question is, will their business survive? And will the business need to rehire? PPP loans would help explain the job “gains” too as payrolls were subsidized.
Leisure and hospitality have a long way to go to return to pre-covid levels. One item of note are layoffs in government. Typically a steady, stable job, with the downturn and subsequent decline in sales tax, hotel tax, parking tickets, etc. cities and local governments are facing serious budget constraints. Additionally, on a state level, the change to tax filing date means state budgets are having to adjust without tax revenue.
Finally, downturns always highlight the systemic inequalities within the economic system, this cycle is no different. Black unemployment actually increased in the time period. It’s also been reported and celebrated by some that black unemployment wasn’t greater, but I think it’s due to black workers having more “essential” jobs during the last few months. Regardless, the slight uptick is concerning.
Finally, food insecurity is on the rise. White House officials said today that the “strong” jobs report negated the need for another round of stimulus, but with the historically high number of unemployed and millions still in trouble, that seems preposterous. So, it is certainly positive that the economy has stopped bleeding, but we’re still on life support for the immediate future.