By Joseph M. Carbone, Pres/CEO
The January Jobs Report issued Friday was a stark reminder of trouble ahead. We have known for months that the pandemic recession would lay heaviest on the backs of the poorest among us. Here are some important features of that report compiled by CNBC, NPR, and Politico. I added details of corresponding data and demographics about Connecticut’s unemployed in December. It is unmistakably clear that we will face a long-term unemployment (LTU) challenge greater than we did during the Great Recession.
On Friday, the same day the Job Report was released, I hosted a roundtable of LTU individuals. The group included people from IT, healthcare, and hospitality services. They shared their job search stories, some held advanced degrees, some GEDs and some 2-year degrees. As the meeting went on, they described their experience both in the marketplace and at home. It was evident that a new bias is developing, it is discrimination based on the length of one’s unemployment. We can expect more of this as our unemployment rate remains high and it’s our moral responsibility to stop it. The folks I met with came from every region of our state, In several cases their former employers have gone out of busines or pulled back operations. We must address our long-term unemployment challenge before it’s too late.
My sincere gratitude to Governor Lamont for his leadership and support. He and our Ct General Assembly has been solid and resolute in providing resources to help our LTU get back to work. But more is needed.!!!
- Jan Jobs Report, two in five jobless Americans – or more than 4 million people- are now classified as long-term unemployed (LTU), defined as being out of work for 6 months or more. CT Unemployment claims for first-time filers in Connecticut were an average of 5,408 per week in December 2020, higher by (30.4%) from the average weekly level in December 2019.
- Jan Jobs Report, Leisure and hospitality reported a total deficit of more than 4 million jobs since before the pandemic, comprising a significant portion of the 10 million jobs lost on net since February 2019. CT currently has 200,000 active claims and are at risk of becoming LTU this year.
- Jan Jobs Report, the ripple effect of long-term joblessness can be severe. The unique composition of the long-term unemployed, whom a significant portion worked in low-wage jobs. CT unemployed claimants: 65% are folks who earned $35K or less in 2019.
- Jan Jobs Report, employees in the leisure and hospitality industry are less likely to have a savings account or safety net to help them weather and extended period without a paycheck. CT claimants are disproportionately female, African American, Latino, and young.
- Jan Jobs Report, restaurants and bars cut 19,400 jobs, while hotels, resorts and other businesses in the lodging industry lost 18,300.
- Jan Jobs Report, the fear among many policymakers is that the swelling ranks of the long-term unemployed will have trouble finding jobs even after the vaccine is distributed because they had so much time out of work. CT between October and December, the number of CT claimants to receive Extended Benefits, the final tier of benefits, increased by 67%.
- Jan Jobs Report, the health care and social assistance sector also had a tough month with job losses occurring in nursing care facilities (-19,000), home health care services (-13,000) and community care facilities for the elderly (-7,000). Since February, health care employment is down by 542,000.
I have been meeting with local, state, and federal officials on LTU for months. I will soon meet with Safety Net Administrators and philanthropic leaders. My Roundtable discussions will continue and if you would like to attend as a listener, let me know. Let us carry on, Joe