COVID-19 lockdowns crushed the working class while benefiting members of the elite and wealthy class, with employment levels for lower-wage workers dropping more than 25 percent, a new study by Harvard and Brown University shows.
The study, which was also conducted in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed employment levels in January 2020, shortly before the lockdowns and quarantines took hold of the country, and compared those figures to employment levels in March 31, 2021, when lockdown was in full-swing.
‘The picture painted by this comparison is one of working-class destruction,’ Foundation for Economic Education correspondent Brad Palumbo wrote of the study’s results.
Data analysis from a new study by Harvard and Brown University revealed how COVID-19 lockdowns crushed the working class
The data revealed the fact that employment for lower-wage workers, those who make less than $27,000 a year, dropped 23.6 percent between January 2020 and March 31, 2021.
For middle-class workers, that drop off was far less steep, with employment levels falling just 4.5 percent for those who earn between $27,000 and $60,000 annually, according to the study.
Employment levels for high-wage workers, defined as those who earn over $60k per year, actually increased 2.4 percent during this turbulent economic time period.
‘The data are damning,’ Palumbo added. ‘They offer yet another reminder that government lockdowns hurt most those who could least afford it.’
While members of the working class dealt with a myriad of issues during lockdown, the study shows that the high-wage earners actually benefited
The results of this study have played out in various states across the country. States with more lockdown regulations have shown to have consistently higher unemployment rates when compared to states that offered less rules for lockdown, the Foundation for Economic Education reported back on March 29.
Palumbo states that while some critics place the blame on the pandemic, others believe that the lockdowns did more economic damage than the virus itself.
More than 3.5 million Americans are still collecting traditional state unemployment benefits as the number of people seeking new jobless aid claims rose last week for the first time in two months.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that the number of Americans receiving continued unemployment benefits rose slightly by 1,000 to just over 3.5 million for the week ending June 5.
That figure was at about 19 million around this time last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the economy to largely shutdown.
The government said 14.8 million people were receiving some type of jobless aid – including supplemental federal jobless benefits and regular state unemployment aid – during the week of May 29, which is down from 30.2 million a year earlier.
Meanwhile, new weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 37,000 to 412,000 last week despite widespread evidence that the economy and the job market are rebounding steadily from the pandemic recession.
The number of Americans applying for new jobless aid rose 37,000 to 412,000 last week for the first time in two months, the Labor Department said on Thursday
As the job market has strengthened, the number of weekly applications for unemployment aid has fallen for most of the year.
The number of jobless claims generally reflects the pace of layoffs.
Weekly applications for unemployment aid had dropped for six straight weeks and economists had expected another dip last week.
Still, the government’s report showed the the four-week average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week ups and downs, fell by 8,000 last week to 395,000 – the lowest four-week average since the pandemic slammed the economy in March 2020.