New numbers highlight economic disparities across US

New numbers released Thursday show just how severely the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the country's financial picture.

The country's economy has taken a historically large plunge while the latest unemployment figures also indicate a negative trend. And as the economy shrinks at a record rate, the economic disparities between women and men, minorities and whites, and the wealthy and the poor are growing.

The United States economy is measured by real GDP, the gross domestic product, which is all the goods and services the country produces. Normally, it grows about 2 to 5% each year, so last quarter's nosedive is stunning.

"The US economy contracted by 33%. And to put it in perspective, that is the largest drop ever in history," said Chuck Minnich, with Foundation Capital Management.

Three times worse than the previous record for the GDP decline of 10% back in 1958.

"This is what happens when you take the economy and basically put it in a medically induced coma," he said.

Unemployment figures released Thursday also show a negative trend. Another 1.4 million workers filed jobless claims last week, marking the second straight week that they're higher than the week before.

One positive note is the stock market and that is benefiting people who have money to invest but does nothing to help many of those on main street.

"So, we've seen with the wage gap that's going to widen and the disparity in unemployment is heavily weighted toward the lower end of the wage scale," Minnich said.

And a new study by Ascent shows minorities and women have been hurt more financially.

"For example, 28% percent of women report having lost income during the pandemic compared to just 20% of men," said Matt Frankel, with the Ascent.

The largest gender disparity in income loss is among Asian Americans.

"Asian women especially, 53% percent of Asian women reported losing half of their income at least," Frankel said.

Compared to 37% of Asian men.

The survey also found minorities and women predict having a harder time recovering and getting back to a stable financial situation.

A higher percentage of Black women reportedly lost all of their income compared to other races.
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