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  • Writer's pictureKeith Gantenbein

The Negative Financial, Social Effects On Colorado People & Americans During Continued Pandemic

The personal financial satisfaction of Americans has continued to drop- this time, by 55%- among the coronavirus pandemic during the second quarter of 2020, according AICPA’s latest Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi), due to a surge in underemployment.

Further, underemployment increased 246% between the first and second quarters of this year, surpassing a previous peak reached in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Pre-COVID19, "only 29 percent of Americans were financially healthy in 2019 while 17 percent, or 43 million people, were financially vulnerable, defined as individuals who “are struggling with all, or nearly all, aspects of their financials lives.” 54 percent, or 135 million people, were categorized as financially coping, meaning they were struggling with some, but not all, aspects of their financial lives" according to the Financial Health Network’s U.S. Financial Health Pulse report.

According to Forbes, "Covid-19 and the ensuing economic hardship disproportionately hit low-income families and people of color the hardest, mainly because many work in essential service jobs. Close to 40 percent of Americans earning less than $40,000 annually lost their jobs in March, when the coronavirus brought parts of the economy to a standstill, according to Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve."

Further, Forbes reported that in June, "the unemployment rate is still higher than any previous time since World War II and the U.S still has 15 million fewer jobs today than before the coronavirus pandemic." The unemployment rate continues to disproportionately affect lower-income workers and workers of color in America, and continues to increase the wealth-disparity gap in America.

In Colorado, here is how the numbers stack up for unemployment during the pandemic (the following information is quoted from a recent CPR article, which cites the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment statistics. To see the full CPR article, please visit here):

  • "1 in 10 Coloradans are out of work" ;

  • "Women and Young Adults make up the largest group of people filing for unemployment" ;

  • "People ages 25 to 34 make up the largest share of those filing for unemployment, accounting for 136,604 filings during the pandemic so far. That’s roughly a 30 percent increase in the share of total initial claims compared to 2019."

  • "White people still make up the majority of unemployment claims at about 85 percent, but they are also the majority of the state’s population at about 87 percent. In 2019, white people represented slightly more of the initial claims at 86 percent."

  • "Asian Americans have the highest increase in unemployment: they represent roughly 3.5 percent of the population but make up about 5 percent of the initial claims data."

  • "Black Coloradans represent about 4 percent of Colorado’s population but so far in 2020, account for 7.5 percent of the initial claims data. That’s slightly less than their share prior to the pandemic."

  • "Native American people are 1.6 percent of the state’s population but represent more than 2 percent of the people filing for unemployment. So far, that is slightly better than in 2019 when Indigenous people made up about 3 percent of people filing for unemployment."

  • "State data categorizes Hispanic people by ethnicity rather than race which prevents direct comparisons. Based on census data, Latinx people make up nearly 22 percent of Colorado’s population. Latino people made up about 20 percent of the claims in the state, a decline from last year’s share."

  • Industries hit the hardest include: "accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, administrative services/support/waste management/remediation services, and temporary service workers."

As detrimental as the coronavirus has been, it will likely continue to have a negative financial, social and mental impact on Americans. Here is how the coronavirus can continue to impact the financial future of Americans:

  • The Closing of Schools: Most people from Colorado rely on two incomes or are single parents with a single income source. Many families rely on the public school system for childcare. With the closing of schools , parents are left to pay for additional daycare or take personal time off work to deal with the children who are at home. Further, many parents are opting to privately pay for 'teacher pods' - a pooling of funds to pay for private teachers 3-5 days a week, so they may go back to work. Of course, this option is not available for lower-income families struggling to pay their bills, or for families that have lost their jobs due to COVID19. Many lower-income families find themselves sitting outside public buildings with free internet access to be able to access virtual learning, or finding their internet vouchers to be used quickly by the younger children on Netflix, so that the older children may virtually study online or so that parents can find a way to occupy their children that remain at home so that they may go to work in able to keep paying their rent. Wealthier families can afford 'teacher pods'; lower-income families use their internet vouchers for Netflix babysitting: the disproportionate impact closing public schools and making them accessible only via virtual learning will have on lower-income, and income-disadvantaged children, will likely be monumental. At the very least, it is arguably discriminatory in its application that lower-income families, most often those of color, will be disadvantaged (again) by the public school system. As we move forward during the pandemic, it is paramount that both the Federal and State governments find ways to provide equal access to public education that is neither discriminatory in its application, nor disproportionately negatively affects children and families in lower wealth brackets.

  • Quarantines: For many self-employed or small businesses, becoming ill means a direct loss of revenue. If you are the only one working, not being able to work could mean the end of your business. Many small businesses are paying for sick time for their employees, which can also be a devastating hit to their already-suffering revenue. More incentives from the state should cover these losses.

  • Event cancellations: As many sporting events, concerts, and gathering are forced to close, retailers, vendors and employees that rely on these events are no longer able to generate revenue. Many of these businesses are not able to apply for government loans, due to the way their business are set up and operated- much like that of restaurants.

  • Limited, or No, Restaurant Dining: The restaurant industry continues to be one of the hardest-hit industries by coronavirus. As restaurants were forced to close, millions of employees lost their jobs and thousands of restaurants across the country shut their doors for good. PPP Loans were not able to cover the high costs of running a restaurant, including the high cost of rent many restaurants were still obligated to pay, even though they were not able to operate. Now, many restaurants have re-opened in a limited capacity, but can only host 6 or so tables due to social distancing. What happens when the weather turns colder and patio dining is no longer an option for these restaurants, or if these restaurants are forced to close again? Many restaurant owners and employees alike continued to be terrified of the financial impact of coronavirus.

  • Social and economic impact: The current pandemic will likely have a very drastic impact on both a social and economic level. As current government aid and moratoriums wind down, residents of Colorado will experience a large rise in the numbers of evictions, foreclosures and homelessness. The eviction moratoriums have staved of an initial rush of eviction filings but those gates will be eventually opened. This will cause a rise in vacant rentals, displaced tenants and landlords who have gone months without rental income. Landlords, who received little assistance, are now facing a rise in delinquent mortgage payments- which will lead to an increase in foreclosures. If there is a large increase in foreclosure filings, there will inevitably be a decrease in property value. As such, a potentially large economic depression looms on the horizon.

If you are facing foreclosure, have a mortgage delinquency issue, a landlord-tenant issue, or any other real estate issue, our experienced real estate attorneys and foreclosure defense attorneys can help. If you are facing issues with tax controversies, tax audits or other tax issues, our skilled tax attorneys can help. If you are experiencing any issues relating to your business or issues regarding partnership disputes with your business, our accomplished business attorneys can help. Gantenbein Law Firm is located in Denver and serves clients throughout all of Colorado.

Gantenbein Law Firm opened it doors during the Great Recession, Time and time again, we helped our clients dust themselves off and stand back up. 

We are here to do it again.

We will continue our cutting-edge approach to best meet our clients' needs during these unique times.

Find out how we can best serve you.

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