COVID-19

Pandemic exacerbated inequality worldwide, Amnesty International says

Samantha Fields Apr 7, 2021
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It’s the same story in much of the world: The people who make the least have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Brad Barket/Getty Images for Action/2015
COVID-19

Pandemic exacerbated inequality worldwide, Amnesty International says

Samantha Fields Apr 7, 2021
Heard on:
It’s the same story in much of the world: The people who make the least have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Brad Barket/Getty Images for Action/2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Low-wage workers, the self-employed and others with jobs in the informal economy around the world have lost the most economic ground in the pandemic, according to Amnesty International’s latest annual report on “The State of the World’s Human Rights.” 

It’s the same story in much of the world: The people who make the least have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. And, “in many countries, those working in the gig economy, those working as cleaners, seasonal workers, were completely left out of any relief package introduced by governments,” said Netsanet Belay at Amnesty International.

And, Belay said, that has exacerbated income inequality around the world. 

In the U.S., low-wage workers have also lost the most in the pandemic, according to Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution. But, “there has been a robust policy response to try to extend a safety net to workers with the least. Typically, our safety net does not catch these gig workers, but in this pandemic recession, there was a very careful effort to include them,” Kinder said.

Still, the pandemic has exacerbated extreme inequities in the U.S that, Kinder said, will require more permanent solutions.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?

It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.

How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?

Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.

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