Because of job losses between February and May of this year, 5.4 million laid-off workers became uninsured. These recent increases in the number of uninsured adults are 39% higher than any annual increase ever recorded. The highest previous increase took place over the one-year period from 2008 to 2009, when 3.9 million nonelderly adults became uninsured.These record-breaking increases in the number of uninsured have taken place during the country’s worst public-health crisis in more than a century and the sharpest and deepest economic downturn since World War II. Nevertheless, no federal COVID-19 legislation signed into law has attempted to restore or preserve comprehensive health insurance. Now is the time to fill that gap by including protections for comprehensive health insurance in the next COVID-19 bill.
It’s a cash cliff millions of Americans face this summer as the emergency benefits — which lifted U.S. consumer incomes by a record 10.8% in April — expire. The loss of that safety net looms in the weeks ahead, well before a sustained recovery is likely to take hold from the sudden and deep recession brought on by the novel coronavirus. Personal income dropped 4.2% in May, data Friday showed.
The $600 supplement Congress added to weekly unemployment benefits is due to expire July 31.
Without new support, recipients face a substantial loss of income – particularly devastating for those like the Ramirez family who worked in hard-hit sectors like hospitality where new jobs are scarce. During high unemployment and a still-raging pandemic, the end of enhanced jobless benefits could drag on consumer spending, set off a wave of missed rent and mortgage payments and translate to a slower recovery, economists said.
Stocks fell for a second day on Thursday following the release of disappointing unemployment data while traders grappled with a rising number of coronavirus cases. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 200 points lower, or 0.8%. The S&P 500 slid 0.7% while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8%. An additional 1.48 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 1.35 million. This marks the second straight week that U.S. jobless claims data were worse than expected.
“No matter which way you look at it, over a million unemployed is a very bad thing,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. “It will take some time to unwind the structural damage COVID has caused across the world.”
“While it’s certainly uncomfortable, the everyday investor should be used to ongoing market volatility at this point,” Loewengart said.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that the monthly decline pushed sales down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.91 million, the slowest pace since a home buyers tax credit expired in October 2010.
Sales fell in all regions of the country, with the biggest decline coming in the Northeast where virus infections were especially heavy.
Sales of both existing and new homes have fallen sharply during the traditional spring selling season as communities were locked down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.