Maloney Highlights Need for an Equitable COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Mar 17, 2021
Press Release
Women have been disproportionately harmed by job losses during the pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – At today’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing: “From Rescue to Recovery: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Post Pandemic Economy,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and author of the Measuring Real Income Growth Act, highlighted the need to make sure that equity is at the center of our economic recovery policy.


Last week, the Congresswoman, with Joint Economic Committee Chair Don Beyer, reintroduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act, legislation which would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to report Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth broken out by income deciles and for the top 1% of earners.


At today’s hearing, the Congresswoman asked Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University and Nobel Laureate in Economics, “would you agree that GDP growth broken out by income level would improve the quality of the BEA’s economic data?  And do you believe this bill will help ensure a more equitable recovery?”


In response, Dr. Stiglitz expressed his support for the bill, “Very much so, and in my written testimony I actually mention that as an important tool going forward. It was also mentioned that breaking down the unemployment rate by various groups would also give a better picture of what is going on. It’s important to recognize that it’s not just the percentage changes of what are going on, but the absolute changes because of the very disparate circumstances – the increased inequality that has been so strong in the last 20 years.”


The Congresswoman also noted that “numbers show that women have been disproportionately harmed by job losses during the pandemic. From February to May 2020, as our nation locked down, more than 11.5 million women lost their jobs, compared to 9 million men. Black and Latino women have suffered the highest rate of job losses. The pandemic has forced many women out of the labor force entirely. Over the last year, we’ve seen a 2% drop in women’s labor force participation and mothers of children 12 years old and younger were three times as likely to lose work than fathers of children the same age.”


She went on to ask Dr. Stiglitz, “why have women disproportionately lost their jobs and left the labor market during the pandemic?”


Dr. Stiglitz explained, “[T]here’s a differential representation across the economy – the sectors, the hospitality sectors have been most adversely affected by the crisis and these are sectors where women are a larger fraction of the labor force and disproportionately in jobs that are affected. In other service sector frontline jobs as well. That pattern is partly a reflection of discrimination, historical discrimination in the labor market and so one of the very important aspects of the pandemic is that it has exposed historical legacies in our economy – discrimination, access to healthcare. A variety of things that become much more apparent as a result of the pandemic.”


And to conclude her questioning of the witness, the Congresswoman noted that “The American Rescue Plan takes critical steps to help women get back on their feet, and back into the labor force. That law will give working families an increase in the child tax credit [and] Earned Income Tax Credit, provides emergency paid leave, and expands child-care assistance. It also provides more than $180 billion to quickly reopen our schools.”


Dr. Stiglitz explained how these provisions of the American Rescue Plan will help bring women back to the workforce:


“The ability to get money to children means that the families can afford childcare, and that enables them to get back in the labor force. The sector-specific programs in the bill affect sectors where women are disproportionately represented – and minorities – and so, again, will help recovery be a more balanced recovery than the less comprehensive measures that we took last Spring. One of the important aspects of this bill is that it was much more comprehensive in dealing with some of the sectors that have been left out of the earlier measures.”


You can watch the Congresswoman’s full exchange with Dr. Stiglitz below.