White House says majority of coronavirus job losses will be temporary
The number of unemployed Americans climbed from 5.8M in February to more than 23M in April
The majority of the jobs lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic were likely temporary, the Trump administration estimated in a new report released Thursday.
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The number of unemployed Americans climbed from 5.8 million in February to more than 23 million in April as the virus brought the nation's economy to a grinding halt. As of July, there were 16.3 million laid-off workers and the unemployment rate was at 10.2%, the Labor Department said.
But according to a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, about 80% of those job losses will not be permanent -- thanks to the $2.2 trillion aid package that Congress signed into law at the end of March.
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In particular, the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program helped "stabilize labor markets and facilitated recovery by allowing firms to retain workers and to rehire them as conditions approve," the report said.
More than 5.1 million loans worth about $522 billion had been distributed through the program before it closed at the beginning of August, according to SBA data. The Small Business Administration estimated the rescue fund saved about 51 million jobs.
At the same time, the stimulus checks, up to $1,200 for individuals earning less than $99,000, played a vital role in preventing a rise in poverty. The checks -- a family of four could receive up to $3,400 -- were enough to keep a family of four out of poverty for 1.5 months, the report said, even if they lost the rest of their income.
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In addition, the bottom 10% of income-earners received enough assistance, on average, to replace 2.8 months of income per household.
The report comes as Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over another coronavirus relief deal. The two sides indicated on Wednesday they were nowhere close to reaching an agreement, despite weeks of closed-door discussions, with each side continuing to blame the other for the stalemate.
Negotiators are trying to bridge the gulf between a $1 trillion aid package put forward by Senate Republicans at the end of July, and the roughly $3 trillion legislation passed by House Democrats in May.
The Trump administration rejected an offer by Pelosi last week to meet in the middle on a $2 trillion price tag.