March 2021 marks one year of the COVID-19 pandemic upending our lives and the economy here in the United States. Pre-pandemic, Americans were doing well financially, with major markers like unemployment, reaching 50-year lows. Post-pandemic, however, things are looking wildly different. During the second quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, our nation’s real GDP fell by a whopping 31.4%, a number that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Additionally, unemployment levels reached 14.5%, also nearing Great Depression highs. And while both of those factors have begun to settle back to normal, thanks to the increased re-opening of our economy, things are still a far cry from the way they were in 2019.
One marker that has sped far past its 2019 position is that of income inequality in the United States. Low-wage industries have been decimated by the pandemic, leaving millions without work or in positions they are overqualified for.