We Need to Extend Economic Aid to the Unemployed Immediately

A few days ago I noted that low-income workers were still spending a lot, thanks largely to assistance from the CARES program, but they’re also still unemployed at high levels. My evidence was a little indirect, though, so I’m happy to present direct evidence for this based on data from Raj Chetty’s economic tracker. Here’s consumer spending:

The lowest income group has been spending at pre-pandemic levels since June, while the highest income group is still holding back. But here’s employment:

Low-wage workers are still far below their pre-pandemic levels of employment, while high-wage workers are back to normal and even mid-wage workers are close to normal.

Today, economists at Goldman Sachs became the latest to issue a warning that economic recovery will falter if Congress doesn’t provide more federal aid. That’s nearly a unanimous view these days, but these charts make it clear what kind of federal aid we need: not broad-based stimulus, but specific assistance to those who have lost their jobs. Let’s get with it.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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