COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused more public school job losses than the entire Great Recession

Meghan McCarty Carino Jun 4, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Some jobs involve school building maintenance with facilities closed, but about half were positions that deal directly with students. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused more public school job losses than the entire Great Recession

Meghan McCarty Carino Jun 4, 2020
Some jobs involve school building maintenance with facilities closed, but about half were positions that deal directly with students. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Another 1.877 million people filed jobless claims last week, signaling that the worst may be over for COVID-19 job losses, although unemployment is still inordinately high. More than 42 million recently laid-off people have put in their applications for unemployment since the pandemic shelter-in-place orders began. A new report shows that many people working for public schools are losing their jobs.

Almost 469,000 workers in K-12 public education lost a job in just the month of April, according to the Economic Policy Institute. It’s no surprise that some jobs involve school building maintenance. But about half were positions that deal directly with students: special education teachers, tutors and teachers assistants.

“And I think it’s devastating for student learning,” report author Elise Gould said.

She says the job losses in April were more than the sector saw in the entire Great Recession. They could be long-lasting as states grapple with reduced budgets.

Bruce Fuller, a professor of education policy at the University of California, Berkeley, says further cuts to education — as we saw in the Great Recession — would probably mean larger class sizes and lower teacher salaries.

“These things add up to a decline in overall educational quality, and that sort of affects our whole society’s ability to generate more potent forms of human capital for the private sector,” Fuller said.

That, he says, could make it even harder for the economy to recover in the long run.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

It’s still the question on everyone’s minds: What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The $600-a-week payments have ended, officially, as of July 31. For now, there is no additional federal pandemic unemployment assistance. House Democrats want to renew the $600 payments. Senate Republicans have proposed giving the unemployed 70% of their most recent salary by this October, when state unemployment offices have had time to reconfigure their computer systems to do those calculations. Until then, jobless workers would just get another $200. But, nothing has been agreed upon yet.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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