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Issue #37 | September 22, 2020

Coronavirus, the Fed, and You

Recovery is likely to take some time, says President Mester

Speaking to an economics seminar via videoconference, Cleveland Fed president and chief executive officer Loretta J. Mester discussed how the economy is faring during the reopening phase of the pandemic. The economy is adding jobs again, she noted, but we’ve still lost about six years’ worth of job growth. See the full speech and seven charts on key indicators.

Evictions during COVID-19

For households facing unemployment and income loss during the coronavirus pandemic, eviction is a serious risk. Watch this video to hear about findings from a recent report on evictions in cities and regions across the United States. Recently, the Cleveland Fed launched a program to measure eviction filings in more than 60 jurisdictions. The publicly available data will help policymakers understand how evictions are affected by changing local, state, and national policy, including the recent eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. See our regularly updated charts to track the evictions data yourself.

Little advance warning for some layoffs early in the pandemic

In the second half of March and in April, the number of workers laid off spiked in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. And, because of quickly changing economic conditions, these workers received little advance notice. Learn more about these and other findings in a recent study that assesses layoffs during the current recession.

Break on rent helps businesses survive the crisis

During the early months of the pandemic, the nonprofit College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, which operates in Cincinnati’s College Hill, offered rent forgiveness and rent abatement to assist businesses there. Funded by community donations, this rental assistance offset the financial burden caused by the pandemic and increased the likelihood that businesses in the neighborhood would survive. This blog post explores what the organization has done and the impact it’s had.

The pandemic struck, and our research changed

Watch three Cleveland Fed economists discuss what they’ve found about how COVID-19 is affecting the national economy and the communities in the region the Cleveland Fed serves. Topics include trends in cases and deaths and the virus’s disproportionate economic impact on low- and moderate-income communities.

Measuring COVID-19 deaths

To effectively combat the pandemic and its effects, authorities and policymakers need accurate knowledge about how many people have died from COVID-19 and whether the death rate is growing, shrinking, or holding steady. But measuring deaths is complicated. This brief infographic explains two competing approaches.

Lending efforts to support the economy extended

Seven lending programs offered by the Fed to support the economy will not end in September as initially planned: The Board of Governors extended them until the end of the year. All of the programs are intended to help the economy recover from the current pandemic-induced crisis. These infographics summarize several of the programs in plain English.

“Our imaginations shouldn’t be limited to what we know schools to be in the past”

Educators and families are reeling at the shock of losing in-person education. At a recent discussion convened by the Chicago Fed, panelists recommended that educators think beyond restoring what has been lost and use the disruptions caused by COVID-19 to think creatively about how to better serve all students and especially vulnerable students. One theme explored is the recruitment of Black and Latinx teachers.

Forum discussion: What’s necessary to get people back to work

The current economic situation is without modern precedent: Practically overnight, nonessential businesses were shuttered, and millions of workers were furloughed. A group of business, labor, and education leaders—convened by the Chicago Fed—recently discussed needs, such as testing, transportation, and school and childcare, that they say are critical to getting workers and businesses on the road to economic recovery.

From hospitality to healthcare: Career transitions during the pandemic

Workers in the hospitality industry, which includes restaurants and hotels, have been hit hard by layoffs and furloughs during COVID-19. An option for some workers may be repurposing their transferable skills to jobs in healthcare. This paper outlines “potential health care pathways” for hospitality workers.

Wondering how the current economic downturn compares to past recessions?

Use the Recession and Recovery in Perspective tool to contrast the 2020 recession to the 11 recessions and recoveries that have occurred in the United States since 1946.

“The resilience of paper money” during a pandemic and other disasters

The number of Americans paying cash to buy goods and services has slightly declined during the pandemic. But Americans have been withdrawing cash from their bank accounts and holding on to it, similar to what people do right before natural disasters such as hurricanes. Explore the “comfort of cash” during uncertain times in this blog post.

An uneven job recovery for younger workers

Though job loss numbers have improved across all age groups, the gains have been uneven for those under the age of 36. This group has seen stronger improvements in the real estate and leisure, hospitality, arts, and entertainment industries versus their older counterparts. However, these gains have been offset by job losses in education, finance, and professional business services. Check out a recent COVID-19 survey of consumers that breaks it down.

The impact of the pandemic on already vulnerable small-business entrepreneurs

The challenges facing women veteran entrepreneurs have always been numerous, but since the COVID-19 pandemic they have been exacerbated by declining revenue, disruption of business social networking, and lack of funds to stay afloat. Hear the experience of Helanda Crespin, an Army veteran and small-business owner trying to navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic business landscape.

When workers are laid off, where should the government invest?

As the pandemic created significant negative impacts on the economy, the US government responded with the CARES Act, which extended aid both to workers and to businesses. Workers got extended unemployment insurance benefits to provide income while they were unemployed, and businesses got payroll subsidies to help keep them afloat until the recovery. Find out what these researchers determined spending should be on each of these programs to reduce the death toll and put us on a path to a faster economic recovery.

What comes next? Short-term household debt relief during the pandemic

The two largest categories of US household debt are mortgages and student loans. With the passage of the CARES Act, programs were put in place to ease these financial burdens on consumers by suspending loan payments for a set period of time. In this report, find out what the financial future of households might look like as these programs come to an end.

State and local pensions at risk

During the last two major recessions in 2001 and 2007, state and local pension plans took in less money than they needed to be able to pay future anticipated pension benefits. This led to changes in the plans, such as a reduction of benefits and the introduction of risk-sharing between the plan and employees. Further changes may be required if the COVID-19 pandemic leads to an extended recession. Explore the risks that recessions have on these essential retirement benefits for some American workers.

Are financially vulnerable communities more at risk during the pandemic?

Financially vulnerable areas—those with high debt delinquencies, low income, and majority-minority populations—have experienced higher incidences of COVID-19 cases and deaths than less financially vulnerable areas, according to a recent study. This suggests communities that are least able to defend themselves against the pandemic are disproportionally impacted by its economic and health effects.

Recently, from the Cleveland Fed

  • Want to teach kids about personal finance? Use our new online game

    Our new Great Minds Think online interactive game follows Monte the money tree squirrel and his friend Alex as they explore the concepts of earning, spending, budgeting, and saving. Designed for elementary and middle school students and available in English and Spanish, the game can be played on your computer or mobile device.

  • The booms, busts, and resilience of manufacturing

    Labor Day celebrates American workers, and we acknowledge the role manufacturing has played during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pivoting to produce critical items for the fight against the virus, some manufacturers are making invaluable contributions to our society. Our multimedia story—written before the pandemic—explores how manufacturing in the industrial heartland has evolved over time and focuses on how workers, companies, and communities can be resilient in turbulent times.

Graphic of the Month

Abrupt and rough―worker layoffs peak as pandemic prevailed

As businesses shuttered during the pandemic, workers stayed home, and the economy slowed to a crawl, companies and organizations had no choice but to layoff or furlough workers. In the Cleveland Fed’s service area, layoffs in arts, entertainment, and recreation peaked in March and remained high through June. April was the peak layoff month for other industries, with a decline in layoffs since. Read the full report.

Abrupt and rough―worker layoffs peak as pandemic prevailed

By the Numbers

On the Calendar

  • September 23

    Investment Connection for Toledo, Ohio (virtual event)
    Selected community organizations will pitch CRA-eligible projects for funding.

  • September 28

    Economic Equality Webinar
    Cleveland Fed president and chief executive officer Loretta J. Mester will discuss economic inequality and answer audience questions during an event hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania.

  • October 1

    2020 Federal Reserve Educator Appreciation Night (virtual open house)
    K–12 educators of all subjects are invited to learn about the free resources and programs available from the Cleveland Fed’s education and museum outreach team. Registered participants will receive a Cleveland Fed swag bag!

  • November 10

    Investment Connection for Lexington–Eastern Kentucky (virtual event)
    Selected community organizations will pitch CRA-eligible projects for funding.

  • June 23–25, 2021

    Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities (Cleveland, OH)

From around the Federal Reserve System

No matter how your kids are going back to school, the Fed’s got economic education resources covered

Whether the kids are going back to school in person or online, for their first year in the classroom or their final year of college, the St. Louis Fed has economic education resources to meet their learning needs. From picture books and flashcards to step-by-step activities that equip users to find and graph economic data, there’s something on Econ Ed at the St. Louis Fed for everyone. Search by grade level, subject, resource type, and concept. Some titles are available in Spanish, too.

Are you a teacher? Check out Econ Lowdown, the St. Louis Fed’s free economic education platform for teachers, with online courses and videos for K–12 and college classrooms. Not a teacher but know one? Pass it on.

No matter how your kids are going back to school, the Fed’s got economic education resources covered

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