Case Report - October 22, 2020

You're reading Case Report, a digest of our expert network's best research, analysis, and policy recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the 2020 election and a new spike in cases looming over negotiations, Congress has yet to produce another coronavirus relief bill. But the economic downturn caused by the pandemic continues to worsen as millions more Americans fall into poverty or face the threat of losing their homes and jobs. In this Case Report, SSN members highlight what’s at stake and what’s needed to address both the short-term and long-term causes of America’s economic problems.

8 Million Have Slipped Into Poverty Since May as Federal Aid Has Dried Up
A new study by economist Jane Waldfogel and others shows that the number of poor people in the US has grown by 8 million since May, a dramatic reversal after the same measure fell by 4 million earlier in the year thanks to the Cares Act. “It wasn’t perfect, but hands down it’s the most successful thing we’ve ever done in negating hardship,” says poverty researcher H. Luke Shaefer of the emergency relief package passed by Congress in March. [The New York Times]

People are giving up on work, another sign that this recession is worse
With most Americans unable to work from home during this pandemic, labor economist Aaron Sojourner suggests that the risks posed by contact with customers and colleagues - without increased pay from employers - have led some workers to leave the labor force altogether. [Star Tribune

To recover from COVID-19 recession, Americans need equitable economic growth
The pandemic has revealed the fragility of the American economy, and policies like paid sick leave, affordable childcare, and additional federal relief are needed to ensure a more equitable, sustainable recovery, argues economist Heather Boushey in this opinion piece. [USA Today]

Ann Arbor: Not immune to the COVID-19 housing crisis
When asked about the housing crisis during COVID-19, political scientist and city council candidate Lisa Disch points out that “the pandemic definitely helped make many more people aware of this crisis but it did not cause it,” citing long-term trends in economic inequality and segregation. [The Michigan Daily]