Reprinted from The Washington Post by Timothy O’Brien and Nir Kaissar on October 3, 2020.
“These figures aren’t as dire as April, when 20.8 million jobs were lost in one month and the unemployment rate spiked to 14.7%. But they’re seismic measurements nonetheless.
“About 25 million people living in the wealthiest country on the planet still rely on jobless benefits to get by. And the landscape for workers going forward looks bleak. Over the past few days, the Walt Disney Company said it would lay off 28,000 people, while American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. announced 32,000 job cuts.
“Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of gross domestic product in the US. But unless companies start hiring again, or jobless benefits are extended and drastically enhanced, many Americans will deplete their savings and stop spending. The economy will be hammered. And since the hardships of the downturn have already landed disproportionately on low-wage workers, particularly workers of color, a deeper crisis would further damage the lives and prospects of the most vulnerable Americans. …