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Chairman Yarmuth on August Jobs Report: Additional federal support needed to help millions of Americans still out of work

Sep 4, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy added 1.4 million jobs in August and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.4 percent. Despite these gains, the economy has recovered less than half of the 22.2 million jobs lost since the coronavirus pandemic hit our nation and hiring continues to slow. The number of jobs added in August was down by approximately 360,000 from July and 3.4 million from June, and the numbers of workers who have been permanently laid off surged.

“As we head into Labor Day weekend, we must recognize that, despite this welcome decrease in unemployment, more than 1 million American workers have filed unemployment claims each week for 24 weeks straight,” said Chairman Yarmuth. “We are six months into this crisis and still tens of millions of Americans are out of work through no fault of their own, more and more job losses are becoming permanent, 1 in 8 households are going hungry, millions of families are under the threat of eviction, and the unemployment gap between Black and white workers is now the largest we’ve seen since 2014. Without additional federal support, this is an emergency with no end in sight.

“With their continued inaction, Republicans have demonstrated an inconceivable tolerance for Americans’ suffering. House Democrats passed the Heroes Act more than 100 days ago and remain committed to fighting for America’s working families, supporting our state and local communities, and hastening our recovery by getting the virus under control. We have a responsibility to see our nation through these crises, and the President and Republicans must start taking their jobs seriously.”

Additional numbers of note:

  • Employment in government accounted for 25 percent of the total job gains in August, including the hiring of 238,000 temporary Census workers.
  • State and local governments added 93,000 jobs on net but remain down more than 1.1. million jobs from six months ago.
  • Unemployment rates fell for each racial group but remain highly disparate. Unemployment among white workers fell to 7.3 percent – the only group with unemployment in the single-digits – compared to 10.5 percent for Hispanic Americans, 10.7 percent for Asian Americans, and 13.0 percent for Black Americans.
  • Long-term unemployment continued to increase. As of August, 1.6 million people have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, up more than half a million since February. The long-term unemployed composed approximately 12 percent of all unemployed people, up from 9.2 percent in July.

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