The Path Forward
🎯 Target the Black unemployment rate - Rather than targeting unemployment writ large, the Federal Reserve can use its federal mandate granted by the Humphrey-Hawkins Act to target Black unemployment outright. The act states that “every effort shall be made to reduce differences between the rates of unemployment among youth women, minorities… and the overall rate unemployment which are caused by improper factors with the ultimate objective of removing such differentials.” The Fed, as advocated by the President of the Atlanta Fed, has latitude to focus on minority outcomes and can work to ensure that the Black unemployment rate does not consistently remain double that of the White unemployment rate.
💸 Cash is king - Americans who received increased unemployment benefits during the pandemic experienced less hardship in housing, food insecurity, anxiety, and depression. These cash infusions are a lifeline for Americans. Independent studies from Yale and from the Federal Reserve indicate that increased unemployment support for struggling individuals does not discourage work and instead provides tremendous support to those most in need. This has been true as far back as the Great Depression.
👨💻 Remote work makes it easier to keep a job: Remote work has made it easier for workers to live in less expensive areas while still maintaining the benefits of cities with high hiring rates and competitive compensation. 1 in 3 workers reported working remotely during the pandemic, and according to one study 66% of US companies were able to avoid at least 1 layoff due to remote work options. Remote works allows companies to hire across a more expansive geographic swath of the country as well as provide opportunity for those not living near expensive city centers.