PRESS RELEASE: ECONOMISTS: JOBS REPORT SHOWS URGENT NEED FOR MORE COVID RELIEF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
February 5, 2021

Contact:
Maddy McDaniel, Communications Director

[email protected] or 914-471-7716

ECONOMISTS: JOBS REPORT SHOWS URGENT NEED FOR MORE COVID RELIEF

Economist Rick McGahey: “This is a very weak report. We need more public spending, now”

Economist Gabriel Mathy: “We need to put our foot on the accelerator to undo the damage done to the American economy”

Economist Anna Stansbury: “We have had almost no net new jobs added to the economy since October 2020”

Economist Claudia Sahm: “Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan is essential and Congress must pass it immediately”

Economist Eileen Appelbaum: “The economy is stalling, which makes a rescue package for workers who are suffering even more important”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The unemployment rate remained well above its pre-pandemic level in January as modest jobs gains weren’t enough to make a dent in the 10 million Americans who remain unemployed, according to a monthly jobs reportEconomists made the below statements analyzing the jobs report and calling for additional relief: 

“Today’s report is bad news. The latest Covid surge continues to punish the economy. A slight gain in jobs didn’t offset December’s fall, and almost all of the small gains were in the public sector, mostly education,” said Rick McGahey, former Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Labor. “We remain almost 10 million jobs below pre-Covid levels, with losses concentrated in low-wage sectors. Don’t be distracted by the churning and industry details—more industries lost jobs than gained them. This is a very weak report. We need more public spending, now.”

“The December stimulus has kept this report from being as bad as it could have been, but we are still down about 10 million jobs since February 2020 — this is not an economy that has recovered,” said Gabriel Mathy, assistant professor of economics at American University. “The improvements in the unemployment rate this month are primarily because fewer people are looking for work — that’s a bad reason to have the unemployment rate fall. President Biden’s stimulus package is more needed than ever. We need to put our foot on the accelerator to undo the damage done to the American economy by the Trump administration’s absolute failure in responding to the pandemic and to the economic crisis.”

“The labor market is stalling out, and we are 10 million jobs short of February. The pace will pick up when relief gets out to the economy and the pandemic is under control, but we are moving too slow,” said Claudia Sahm, former Federal Reserve economist and New York Times and Bloomberg opinion contributor. “Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan is essential and Congress must pass it immediately. The crisis is now almost a year old and the damage will last even longer. Now is the time for big and bold policies.”

“The economy has nearly 3 million fewer jobs as Trump left office than when he took it. Not since Hoover has a president left office with fewer jobs than when he entered,” said Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “The economy is stalling, which makes a rescue package for workers who are suffering even more important and indicates there will be a need for a stimulus deal soon after.

“The headline unemployment numbers paint a picture of a weak improvement in the economy, but this is an overly rosy picture of the true situation. In terms of employment, the picture has not particularly changed,” said Anna Stansbury, Ph.D. Scholar at Harvard University’s Program in Inequality and Social Policy. “While a small number of new jobs were added in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised their November and December estimates substantially downward, so the net result is that we have had almost no net new jobs added to the economy since October 2020, and nearly 10 million fewer people are employed than was the case in February 2020.”

Please contact [email protected] to get in touch with the economists above.

About Invest in America

Invest In America is a national rapid response operation advocating for robust public investment to rescue the economy from the COVID crisis and create prosperity for the future, and to fight back against fear-mongers who use deficit concerns as a scapegoat to starve American communities and businesses of resources.

The operation consists of two components: Invest in America, the charitable and public education arm, which is a fiscally sponsored project of Economic Security Project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Economic Security Project co-chair Chris Hughes; and Invest in America Action, the advocacy and social welfare arm, which is a fiscally sponsored project of Economic Security Project Action funded by Chris Hughes and the Omidyar Network.

Learn more at InvestInAmericaNow.com and @InvestNowUSA, and InvestinAmericaProject.com.

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