Benefits Wanted, Needed

  By Frank F Islam & Ed Crego, August 11, 2020

  • In the week ending July 31, 1.19 million people filed for unemployment benefits. This was the 20th week in a row with over 1 million claims.
  • The jobs report for July showed that the economy added 1.8 million jobs. This was a sliver of good news, but that was a significant decline from May, when the economy added 2.7 million jobs, and June when it added 4.8 million.
  • The ADP National Employment Report for private sector employment showed an increase of only 167,000 jobs, compared to more than 4 million in June and 3 million in May. ADP stated “We have seen the slowdown impact businesses across all sizes and sectors.”
  • 47 percent of those in the July survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research felt their lost jobs were not coming back, compared to 73 percent in the April survey who felt their lost jobs would only be temporary.
  • The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index in July fell to 92.6 from 98.3. This fall was driven by a decline in the respondents’ attitudes regarding the short-term future of business and labor market conditions.
  • By June, 3.7 million jobs had already been lost permanently. And a study released in May projected that anywhere from 32 to 42 percent of the jobs lost temporarily would never come back. As of August 1, the jobless number receiving unemployment stood at 30 million and counting.
  • Public Service Component: Even if states and cities get some form of stimulus package support, they will still remain cash strapped. Part of this bill should be directed at job creation to maintain or enhance governmental services.
  • Community Service Component: Non-profits, community based and local service organizations such as food banks have been hard hit and stretched to the limit. There should be a major appropriation in the bill to support jobs in this sector.
  • Small Business Entrepreneurial Component: Millions of small businesses will go out of business because of the pandemic. This bill should provide funds for those who have lost jobs or their businesses so they can develop and implement business plans to replace small businesses that have closed due to the pandemic or to launch new innovative ventures.
  • Adie Tomer, Joseph Kane and Lara Fishbane of the Brookings Institution propose an infrastructure stimulus program. That program would have 4 parts: 1. A BOOST program to help cover the costs of essential transportation, water, energy, and broadband services for over 50 million households. 2. A Keep America Moving program for direct grants for state and local governments to spend on short-term maintenance projects. 3. An InfraCorps program for career pathways for disadvantage and underrepresented groups in the skilled trades and potentially wage support for 3 million apprenticeships. 4. An Ascend program that would launch competitions and private research investment programs in infrastructure-related areas.
  • Maureen Conway and Mark G. Popovich of the Aspen Institute put their focus on ensuring that government contracts are used to purchase services, goods, and products that are provided by American businesses providing good quality jobs with living wages for front-line American workers in inclusive workplaces. They have developed Working Metrics, a cloud-based analytics platform that can be used to evaluate proposals and to use government procurement dollars to buy from American companies that are providing the best jobs for American workers.