This is a grim jobs report. It shows an economy that is stalling. It confirms we remain in the midst of one of the worst economic and jobs crises in modern history.
Millions of people have lost their jobs or had their hours slashed. They’ve lost their health insurance or are in risk of losing it. One in six renters are behind rent. One in four small businesses can’t keep their doors open. An ongoing gap in Black and Latino unemployment remains too large. And, it’s deeply troubling that last month’s drop in overall unemployment in this report was driven by people dropping out of the labor market altogether — they’ve lost hope for finding a job or they’ve taken on full-time caregiving responsibilities as child care centers remain closed and their children learn remotely. Over the last three months, 2.3 million more people are in long-term unemployment, by far the largest increase on record.
This dire jobs report is a snapshot from mid-November, before the surge in COVID cases and deaths in December as we head into a dark winter. Just in October, cities are down 21,000 educators just as schools need more help in the fight against the pandemic. And if Congress and President Trump fail to act, by the end of December, 12 million Americans will lose the unemployment benefits they rely on to keep food on the table and pay their bills. Emergency paid leave will end. The moratorium on evictions will expire. States and cities will lose vital tools they need to help pay for testing and public health workers to fight COVID, to keep children and educators safe in schools, and to provide assistance to keep small businesses alive.
The situation requires urgent action. Americans need help and they need it now. I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in the Senate around a $900 billion relief package. In the weeks since the election ended, there were questions about whether Democrats and Republicans could work together. Right now, they are showing they can. Congress and President Trump must get a deal done for the American people.
But any package passed in the lame duck session is not enough. It’s just the start.
Congress will need to act again in January. As we inherit this economic crisis, Vice President-elect Harris and I are working on the plan we will put forward for the next Congress to move fast and control the pandemic, revive the economy, and build back better than before. And, we hope to see the same kind of spirit of bipartisan cooperation as we are seeing today.
There is no time to lose. Times are tough. But I know we can do this. There’s nothing beyond our capacity if we work together as one nation.