Low-wage workers and mothers of color lost more in the pandemic economy, Fed Chair Powell says

Jerome Powell hearing
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell.

  • In a Monday speech, Jerome Powell discussed data on inequities from an upcoming Federal Reserve survey.
  • Black and Hispanic workers disproportionately suffered in the pandemic, especially mothers, he said.
  • A K-shaped recovery has taken shape, with higher-earning workers seeing job and income growth.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Low-wage workers and workers of color have seen a slower recovery than the rest of the labor force, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday.

In a speech for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Powell highlighted data from an upcoming Federal Reserve survey, showing how low-wage workers and workers of color bore a disproportionate blow from the pandemic’s economic devastation.

For instance, Powell said, 20% of those in the lowest-earning group were still unemployed a year out from February 2020. Among the highest-earners, that number was 6%.

Workers of color and less-educated workers were also more likely to be laid off. According to that new survey, 20% of “prime-age adults” without a bachelor’s degree were laid off, compared to 12% of their college-educated peers.

Over 20% of Black and Hispanic workers saw layoffs in a set period, compared to 14% of white workers.

Women – particularly mothers – have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with wage gap progress and labor force participation set back substantially. According to Powell, labor force participation dropped by about 4% for Black and Hispanic women, compared to 1.6% for white women and 2% for men.

Research from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) found that the unemployment rate for mothers doubled from 2019 to 2020, rising from 3.5% to 7.5%. The rate was higher from Asian, Black, and Latina mothers. And 575,000 mothers completely left the labor force – meaning that they aren’t counted in unemployment rates.

Broadly, Powell said, 22% of parents had either paused working or worked less due to childcare needs. That number was far higher for Black and Hispanic mothers, coming in at 36% and 30%, respectively.

And the NWLC report found that, even prior to the pandemic, mothers saw a wage gap compared to white fathers. Black mothers lose $33,600 every year, and Latina mothers lose $38,000, showing how the pandemic exacerbated preexisting disparities.

All of the data shows a continued trend of unequal recovery, which economists – and President Joe Biden – call a “K-shaped” recovery. That’s when high-earning workers see their jobs and incomes rebound and grow, while low-earning workers experience the opposite.

“We will only reach our full potential when everyone can contribute to, and share in, the benefits of prosperity,” Powell said.

Jobs have rebounded somewhat, with jobless claims coming in at pandemic-era lows. However, millions of Americans still remain unemployed.

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A majority of investors and business owners have faith in Biden’s economic boom, new UBS survey finds

small business owner bakery
Jorge Sactic is the owner of Chapina Bakery in Langley Park, Maryland.

  • About 64% of investors and business owners see Biden’s policies aiding the global recovery.
  • A majority also said Biden’s measures will support global markets, according to a UBS survey.
  • The optimism comes as Biden preps another $4.1 trillion in spending to boost the economic recovery.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden boom is in full swing and people like what they see.

Investors and business owners around the world are largely optimistic that the Biden administration’s economic policies will fuel a robust recovery and leave them on better footing, according to a recent UBS survey. Some 64% of respondents view the administration as having a positive impact on the global economy. Six in 10 believe the White House’s policies will support global markets.

Roughly 57% of investors and business owners said the Biden administration has benefitted their personal finances, and 54% of business owners said the policies benefitted their companies.

In just the first 100 days of his time in office, President Joe Biden has embarked on one of the most ambitious policy strategies in modern history. The president passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus measure – the second-largest in history – on March 11 and has since unveiled follow-up packages that include roughly $4.1 trillion in additional spending. Economists have largely linked soaring retail sales and stronger economic growth to the stimulus measure.

To be sure, President Joe Biden’s policies aren’t the only cause for optimism. New COVID-19 cases in the US sit at their lowest seven-day average since October, and state and local governments have been slowly rolling back lockdown measures for weeks. And while the vaccination rate has slowed, it still sits at an average 2.5 million doses per day. At the current rate, the US will reach herd immunity over the next three months, according to Bloomberg data.

In the US specifically, seven in 10 investors expressed hope about the path of the economy. That compares to just 52% three months ago and makes US investors the most positive globally, UBS said.

The share of US investors growing positive toward stocks rose to 71% from 59%. The shift underscores a broader move toward riskier assets as investors ditch the safe havens they held at the start of the pandemic and position for a swift recovery.

The responses join other sentiment gauges that have turned stronger in recent months. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to a fresh pandemic-era high in April, according to a Friday release. That level is the highest since March 2020. Separately, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure rose to its highest level since February 2020 as the healing labor market and latest round of stimulus checks boosted outlooks.

UBS interviewed 2,850 investors and 1,150 business owners around the world from March 30 to April 18. Responses were sourced from 14 markets including the US, the UK, Mexico, mainland China, Japan, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico.

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American voters overwhelmingly like the stuff the GOP wants to strip out of Biden’s infrastructure plan

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • A CNBC poll found that just 36% of voters support Biden’s infrastructure plan as is.
  • But most supported funding for nontraditional infrastructure measures, like caregiving and climate.
  • The GOP argues that anything unrelated to physical infrastructure doesn’t belong, but voters seem to disagree.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden unveiled his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package two weeks ago, and a CNBC survey found overwhelming support for it, but only parts of it. That’s where it gets interesting.

According to a CNBC survey released on Thursday, just 36% of Americans supported Biden’s infrastructure plan as he presented it – only three percentage points higher than those who oppose the plan, at 33%. This is about half the level of support that Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan received in similar polling in March.

Since Biden unveiled the plan, Republican lawmakers have attacked his definition of infrastructure, saying that a new bill should focus on physical infrastructure, like roads and brides, and should exclude measures related to the care economy like universal pre-K, as well as things like climate change initiatives. Senate Republicans are drafting a bill focused on roads and bridges, Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported.

The CNBC poll illustrates the catch for Republicans: the nontraditional aspects of Biden’s plan are very popular. This could prove pivotal for its future, as the White House has stressed that its definition of bipartisanship doesn’t focus just on what Republican politicians favor, but on what Republican voters favor as well.

The poll noted that a “31% slice of the public say they don’t know enough to venture an opinion, suggesting an opportunity for each political party to make headway.”

Despite the majority of respondents opposing the president’s plan, an overwhelming majority supported specific funding proposals within the plan.

Of the following four main findings, three are measures the GOP has argued for excluding from the bill:

  • 87% of the public backed fixing roads and bridges;
  • 82% of the public supported increasing pay for elderly caregivers;
  • 78% of the public supported expanding high-speed broadband;
  • And 70% of the public supported fixing the electrical grid and making buildings and homes more energy efficient.

The poll also found that 50% of respondents supported raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for the plan. When asked about corporate tax hikes generally, 46% said it was a bad idea because it would raise wages and cost jobs, while 43% said corporate tax hikes should be raised to pay for infrastructure because companies “do not pay their fair share.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that while Biden could have drafted a “serious, targeted infrastructure plan” that would have received bipartisan support, “the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration.”

And South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, said during a Fox News interview in early April that she was “shocked” and at how little of Biden’s plan relates to infrastructure, although her comments indicated that she is unclear on what constitutes physical infrastructure.

“It goes into research and development, it goes into housing and pipes and different initiatives, green energy, and it’s not really an honest conversation that we’re having about what this proposal is,” Noem said.

John Bolten, chief executive officer of Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of the largest US companies, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the organization wants Biden to limit the scope of the package to mainly address roads and bridges and “leave the rest of the stuff for something else.”

He added, though, that “more modern infrastructure” also needs investment, citing broadband as an example.

Biden’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Cecilia Rouse said on April 3 that America needs an upgraded definition of infrastructure to meet “the needs of a 21st-century economy.”

A New York Times poll released on Thursday found that 64% of voters approve of Biden’s infrastructure plan, 84% of voters support rebuilding roads and bridges, and 78% support expanded broadband.

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54% of Republicans said they believe the Capitol insurrection is getting too much attention, a new Pew survey shows

capitol riots flag
A group of Trump protesters wave flags while standing on an armored police vehicle on the grounds of the Capitol Building in Washington DC, on January 6, 2021.

  • Over half of Republicans – 54% – said they think the Capitol riots are getting too much attention.
  • 40% of Democrats said they think too little attention is being paid to the siege, a Pew poll found.
  • Democrats and Republicans also differed on the importance of prosecuting the rioters.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Over half of Republicans and Republican-leaning adults said they believe the Capitol riots are getting too much attention, according to a new Pew Research Center survey on Americans’ views on the January 6 insurrection.

In the poll, 54% of Republicans said they think too much attention is being paid to the riots, while 33% said they think the right amount of attention is paid and 11% thought that too little attention is being paid.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents, 40% think too little attention is being paid to the deadly violence and only 8% think the riots are receiving too much attention.

And among all Americans surveyed, 27% think too little attention is being paid to the riots, 44% said they think about the right amount of attention is being paid to them, and 28% believe too much attention is being paid.

Read more: Inside Merrick Garland’s bid to boost morale in the federal prosecutor’s office handling the January 6th Capitol riot cases, one of the largest investigations in US history

Pew surveyed over 12,000 American adults through their American Trends Panel between March 1 and March 7 to gauge their views on the Capitol insurrection over two months after the event. The survey has a margin of error of ±1.5 percentage points.

There were also partisan divides among the respondents on questions of how important it is to prosecute the rioters and whether they believe punishments will be too severe or not severe enough.

Among all Americans, 87% said they believe it’s very or somewhat important to prosecute the rioters, compared to 79% of Republicans and 95% of Democrats.

Additionally, 37% of Republicans but only 10% of Democrats said the penalties they expect the rioters to receive will be more severe “than they should be,” while 65% of Democrats but only 26% of Republicans said they believe the rioters will receive less severe punishments than they should.

More than 315 people have been charged in connection with the insurrection on the US Capitol, but several suspects are still at large.

In one major breakthrough for the investigation on Thursday, a grand jury indicted two men on charges of conspiracy to injure by spraying the fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray. Sicknick was one of five people who died as a result of the riots.

Last week, the FBI also released surveillance footage of the suspect they believe placed pipe bombs outside the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican National Committees’ headquarters in the Capitol Hill neighborhood on January 5.

The prosecution of Capitol rioters is among the most wide-ranging and labor-intensive in the Department of Justice’s history and spans the entire federal court system.

In a recent court filing in the DOJ’s case against nine defendants affiliated with the extremist Oath Keepers movement, federal prosecutors said they expect to charge at least 100 more defendants and have received over 210,000 tips. They called the probe “likely the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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Only a third of Americans think Biden’s stimulus bill is too big, survey finds

joe biden
President Joe Biden.

  • A Pew survey found that only a third of Americans think Biden’s stimulus bill is too big.
  • While Republican lawmakers oppose the size of the bill, the majority of Republican voters support it.
  • Regardless of party affiliation, lower-income households support the size; some say it’s too low.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill is expected to reach its final vote on Wednesday, and according to a recent survey, only a third of Americans think the bill is too big.

Since it was first introduced, Republican lawmakers have argued that the stimulus bill Democrats have pushed through using reconciliation is too costly, and a group of Republican senators even proposed a counter-stimulus bill that was a third the size of Biden’s. But according to a survey released on Tuesday from the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans don’t see an issue with the size of the bill.

“As the House of Representatives prepares to give final approval to the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a sizable majority of US adults (70%) say they favor the legislation,” the survey said. “Only about three-in-ten (28%) oppose the bill, which provides economic aid to businesses, individuals and state and local governments.”

Here are the main findings of the survey:

  • 82% of Americans in lower-income households favor the bill, compared to 60% of upper-income households;
  • 63% of lower-income Republicans favor the bill, compared to the 25% of upper-income Republicans;
  • And 41% of Americans say the proposed spending on the bill is “about right,” with 46% of upper-income Americans saying it spends too much and 37% of lower-income Americans saying it spends too little.

The survey also found that 94% of Democrats support the bill, with 56% saying the spending is appropriate.

Despite the partisan divide in Congress, Insider previously reported on multiple findings from the past month that suggested broad public – and Republican – support for Biden’s stimulus package. For example, a Morning Consult/Politico poll from February 24 found that 60% of Republicans support the bill, and some provisions in the bill, like the $1,400 stimulus checks, have garnered Republican support.

In addition, Biden and progressive lawmakers have pushed to ensure the measures in the stimulus bill will aid those most hit by the pandemic, including lower-income Americans. A new analysis from the Tax Policy Center found that the stimulus will give the poorest Americans a 20.1% income boost after taxes, and the Pew survey found that regardless of party affiliation, those in lower-income groups approved of, or wanted to see more, spending.

“Reflecting the income pattern among all Americans, within both partisan groups, those with lower incomes are more likely than those with higher incomes to say the proposed spending on the economic bill is not enough,” the survey said.

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