The Biden administration takes the reins of the U.S. government in a little over a week. A surging pandemic, spiraling misinformation and politicization and a continuing economic crisis put the 78-year-old president-elect in one of the toughest spots for the nation’s top executive in modern history. Biden plans to tackle unemployment immediately, with a proposal for an additional $2,000 stimulus check along with further support for small businesses. Data shows how this relief couldn’t come soon enough, as over 26 million Americans continue to be unemployed or experience cuts to hours and pay.
According to December survey data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 26.8 million Americans are either unemployed, experiencing reduced pay and work hours or have left the labor market entirely. Of the 26.8 million, 10.7 million are officially unemployed, 7.5 million are experiencing cuts to pay and hours, 4.9 million have dropped out of the labor force and 3.7 million are currently misclassified as employed when they’re either unemployed or absent from the labor force.
The Economic Policy Institute notes that the 26.8 million may even be an underrepresentation of the economic woes facing millions in the country. The stress and anxiety associated with workers who have kept their jobs but fear losing it is incalculable, particularly for those in nonunionized companies. Promotions and wage increases have been cut across the board for most industries, and without the option to find a more high-paying job in today’s economic climate, many workers have lost valuable leverage and suffered in low-paying jobs throughout the pandemic.