Highlights the Most Equitable Economic Recovery Ever

Details Efforts to Ensure Equity in 32 Major American Rescue Plan Policies

Today, the American Rescue Plan Implementation Team and the Domestic Policy Council released their interim American Rescue Plan Equity Report. It covers 32 different American Rescue Plan programs that represent nearly $900 billion or 60 percent of American Rescue Plan funds, excluding Economic Impact Payments (i.e., stimulus checks). The report, together with ongoing economic statistics provides further evidence that the American Rescue Plan spurred the most equitable recovery in memory. The report also outlines lessons learned and areas for continued work and collaboration with external partners to build on progress to date, including through the release of the ARP Equity Learning Agenda.

Since the American Rescue Plan passed: The American Rescue Plan helped power a historic recovery which led to the largest job growth ever in a calendar year, saw unemployment claims decline from nearly 20 million when President Biden took office to close to 1 million – and unemployment reach 3.6% – a level the Congressional Budget Office did not predict our nation would reach during the entire decade. It is also critical to recognize that the cumulative impact of the American Rescue Plan – as well as the design and implementation of its policies – has led to a historically equitable recovery. Below are some of the highlights: 

A Historically Equitable Recovery

  • Black Unemployment – largest calendar year drop since 1983 & below pre-pandemic rate: 2021 featured the fastest calendar year of decline in the number of unemployed Black workers on record and the largest calendar year drop in the unemployment rate (2.9 percentage points) since 1983—now down to 5.9 percent in April, below pre-pandemic levels – instead of taking over six years to recover as it did after the Great Recession.
    • Black employment is 233,000 above pre-pandemic levels: When President Biden took office, 1.4 million fewer Black workers were employed than pre-pandemic. In April 2022, there were 233,000 more Black workers with jobs than in February 2020. 
    • Black Teen Unemployment is below its pre-pandemic rate.
  • Hispanic Unemployment – record calendar year drop & below pre-pandemic rate at just 4.1%: Hispanic unemployment fell by 4.5 points in 2021 from 9.4% to 4.9 percent—the largest calendar year drop on record – and has fallen further to 4.1% in April, below pre-pandemic levelsFollowing the official end of the Great Recession, Hispanic Unemployment took over six years after the end of the recession to reach pre-crisis levels. 
    • Hispanic employment is 618,000 above pre-pandemic: When President Biden took office, Hispanic employment was still 2.1 million below February 2020 levels. By April 2022, there were 618,000 more employed Hispanic workers than pre-pandemic. 
    • Hispanic Women’s Unemployment is down to 3.8%, below pre-pandemic levels: Hispanic women’s unemployment has fallen from 8.8% in January 2021 to 3.8% in April 2022, below pre-pandemic rates. 
    • Hispanic Teen Unemployment reached a record low in March 2022 – and is below its pre-pandemic rate.
  • Asian American Unemployment – down to 3.1%: Asian American unemployment has fallen from 6.6% in January 2021 to 3.1% —approaching pre-pandemic levels. Asian American unemployment averaged 5% or above each year from 2009 to 2014. 
  • Unemployment in Rural Counties with Persistent Poverty: Unemployment in rural counties with persistent poverty spiked in 2020 and remained above 6 percent through mid-summer 2021—but by the end of 2021, it fell to 4.2 percent—well below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Youth Unemployment – record calendar year drop: Youth employment among 16-24-year-olds is down to 7.9 percent, matching 2019 lows and roughly at pre-pandemic levels, after the largest calendar year drop on record in 2021. 
  • More jobs were created in rural communities in 2021 than in any other year in the last two decades.
  • Women’s Unemployment down to 3.5%: Women’s unemployment has fallen from a peak of 16.1% in April 2020 to 3.5% – equal to its pre-pandemic level, and slightly lower than the unemployment rate for men. 
  • Long-term Unemployment – record 12-month drop: The number of Americans who were long-term unemployed fell by 2.8 million in the 12 months after the American Rescue Plan passed – the largest 12-month drop on record
  • Stronger financial security for lower income families:
    • J.P. Morgan Chase data shows that families have more in their checking accounts than pre-pandemic, including the bottom 25% of households who ended 2021 with 65% more in the bank than in 2019. 
    • The Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households found that a higher share of Americans were financially secure in 2021 than in previous years:
      • The highest share of Americans could cover a $400 emergency cash expense – up 18 points since 2013.
      • The highest share of Americans – and the highest share of Black, Asian, Hispanic, and white Americans – reported that they were at least doing OK financially. 
  • Credit Card Delinquencies – which usually hit low-income and Black and Latino borrowers hardest – are at record lows: In the final three quarters of 2021, credit card delinquencies hit record lows as fewer Americans took on riskier debt (with less credit card debt than pre-pandemic). Credit card delinquencies disproportionately impact Black and Hispanic borrowers, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s analysis of 15 years of consumer data on public and community college students.  
  • Strong real income growth for Black and Hispanic workers: The J.P. Morgan Chase Institute found that over the past two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black and Hispanic households experienced the highest real income growth trends, with Black households reaching about 7.5 percent annualized real income growth over the past two years.

Enhanced Child Tax Credit Led to Lowest Black and Hispanic Child Poverty Rate Ever in 2021

  • Child Tax Credit leading to record low child poverty rates: Researchers project that the CTC will have been the leading factor in driving the child poverty rate to its lowest rate on record in 2021—and result in record low Hispanic and Black child poverty rates. 
  • Monthly CTC payments helped to reduce food insufficiency among low-income families by 25 percent.
  • The American Rescue Plan made half of Black Children and half of Hispanic Children eligible for the full expanded child tax credit who would have previously gotten only a partial credit. Providing a full benefit to all but the highest income families is responsible for 88% of the Child Tax Credit’s poverty reduction.
  • Historic and permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit for Puerto Rico families – increasing CTC eligibility from 10% of Puerto Rico families to 97%.
    • Previously, only Puerto Rico families with three or more qualifying children qualified for any Child Tax Credit benefit. This meant that before the American Rescue Plan, only about 10% of Puerto Rico families qualified for any Child Tax Credit.
    • The ARP permanently changed that policy to extend the CTC to Puerto Rico families with fewer than three qualifying children who were previously excluded. As a result of the ARP, 97% of Puerto Rico families with children are eligible for the 2021 Child Tax Credit.
    • In addition, the ARP provided the first-ever federal support for Puerto Rico’s local Earned Income Tax Credit – allowing Puerto Rico to more than triple EITC benefits and extend the EITC to more workers.
    • All-out effort, in partnership with UnidosUS, government officials and non-profits and foundations from Washington D.C. to San Juan coordinated outreach and worked through barriers to get wide sign up for the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Automatically enrolled hard to reach families with 729K children for the Child Tax Credit: The Biden Administration made the policy choice to enroll all 729,000 children whose parents had signed up for stimulus payments but who had not recently filed a full return for monthly Child Tax Credit payments.
  • All of Gov’t effort & critical partnerships to make it easier for eligible families to get assistance signing up for benefits:
    • Launched ChildTaxCredit.gov – a one-stop shop in English and Spanish for families to sign up for the CTC while working with non-profit and advocacy communities to mobilize outreach and tax filing assistance across the country 
    • Launched first ever non-filer portals for the CTC – including one that is mobile friendly and available in Spanish.
    • Disproportionately helped rural communities: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 94 percent of children who live in rural areas will benefit from this expansion of the CTC. 
    • American Rescue Plan also tripled EITC for 17 million workers without dependent children from $540 to $1500 – first increase since 1993 – and extended the credit to younger & older workers.
      • Helping millions of front-line workers: This expansion will help nearly 1.8 million cashiers and retail salespeople; almost 1 million cooks and food prep workers; and more than 850,000 nurses and health aides, 500,000 janitors, 400,000 truck and delivery drivers, and 300,000 childcare workers.

Powering a Small Business Recovery that Reaches the Smallest Businesses

  • In 2021, a Record Number of Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses—more than 20 percent higher than any previous year on record and more than two-thirds higher than the annual average of 3.2 million new businesses applications per year in the five years prior to the start of the pandemic. 
  • Increased Black, Hispanic, and Asian Entrepreneurship: A March 2022 study from the Kauffman Foundation found strong rates of business formation from Black, Hispanic, Asian Americans and immigrants.
    • Hispanic Business Formation was at the highest rate in more than a decade in 2021 and 23 percent faster than pre-pandemic levels. 
    • Asian American Entrepreneurship was the fastest rate in over a decade in 2021– and 20% higher than pre-pandemic.
    • Black Entrepreneurship was 17% above pre-pandemic in 2021. 
      • In early in 2020, Black-owned small businesses closed at twice the rate of other businesses, with 41 percent shutting down, according to April 2020 census data.
      • A separate analysis found that in 2021, Black-owned small businesses were created at the fastest rate in at least 26 years.
  • Smallest businesses adding record number of jobs. In the first three quarters of 2021, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees created 1.9 million jobs, the fastest 9-month start in any year on record.
  • Restaurant Revitalization Funds: Nearly two-thirds of Restaurant Revitalization Funds went to businesses owned by women, veterans, and economically and socially disadvantaged individuals.
  • Made PPP available to the smallest businesses and those in low- and moderate- income communities:
    • Instituted A 14-Day Period During Which Only Businesses with Fewer Than 20 Employees Could Apply for Relief: Ninety-eight percent of small businesses have fewer than 20 employees. This exclusive application period allowed lenders to focus on serving these smallest businesses, which often need additional time to navigate the paperwork entailed in completing applications.
    • Helping Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, and Self-Employed Individuals Receive More Financial Support: Revised the loan calculation formula for these applicants to offer additional relief and established a $1 billion funding pool for businesses in this category located in low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas who do not have any employees. A high percentage of Black business owners are sole proprietors. 
    • Eliminated an Exclusionary Restriction that Prevented Small Business Owners Who Were Delinquent on Their Federal Student Loans from Obtaining Relief Through the PPP.
  • Historic Investment in Community Navigators to ensure the smallest businesses in low- and moderate- income communities could get assistance: 
    • SBA awarded $100 million to 51 organizations selected as part of a rigorous review process to ensure geographic diversity and diversity of small business service segments. In turn, the 51 grantee organizations are working with more than 400 hyperlocal organizations to connect America’s small businesses to SBA.

Equitable Housing Recovery

  • Historic National Eviction Prevention – helping 5 million renter households: First-ever national eviction assistance infrastructure has already made payments to over 5 million households and committed over $30 billion in assistance to cover back rent, prospective rent, and utilities. 
  • In the eight months after the end of the CDC Eviction moratorium – eviction filings were 30% below historical averages – instead of surging as experts feared. 
  • Strong evidence that Emergency Rental Assistance has reached those most in need
    • Over 80% of assistance went to the lowest-income families (with incomes 50% or less of area median income)
    • 60% of assistance went to Hispanic or Black renters
    • Over two-thirds of assistance went to female-headed households
    • Low-income and majority-Black neighborhoods saw the greatest absolute reduction in eviction filings
  • Increased Housing Stability Among Most Vulnerable Populations:
    • Public Housing Authorities partnered with Continuum of Care organizations to distribute over 74% of the 70,000 new Emergency Housing Vouchers made available to households experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, domestic violence, or trafficking, disproportionately helping families of color. 
    • States and local jurisdictions are committing $5 billion in HOME-ARP funds to housing, rental assistance, supportive services to prevent and address homelessness in hard-hit communities.
  • Homeowner Protections and Critical Support lead to record low foreclosures:
    • American Rescue Plan policies and Biden Administration policies helped drive foreclosures to record lowsin 2021 – at just 151,000 homes in foreclosure, less than a third of pre-pandemic levels, and 95 percent below the 2010 peak in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Reducing foreclosures is critical for protecting Black and Hispanic families and their wealth. For several years during and following the Great Recession, foreclosure rates for Black and Hispanic homeowners was two-to-three times larger than for white homeowners. 
    • Administration extended foreclosure moratoriums and forbearance options for nearly 11 million households
    • ARP established a new $10 billion Homeowner Assistance Fund. Treasury has disbursed over $9 billion to HAF programs nationwide to distribute to eligible homeowners, of which at least 60 percent of funds must be used for low income homeowners. As of May 23, 2022, 44 states and territories have opened their programs to applicants, 5 states and the District of Columbia are operating pilot programs, and Treasury has approved all but two HAF plans.

Provided $130 Billion To Keep Schools Open Safely and Address Students’ Academic and Mental Health Needs

  • American Rescue Plan’s $122 billion in K-12 to reopen schools, address learning loss, and address student mental health, with a strong equity focus: The American Rescue Plan provided $122 billion to keep schools open safely, combat learning loss and address student mental health, with funds allocated based on which school districts have students with the greatest needs. These resources are addressing critical local needs like teachers and counselors—particularly for students who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
    • Safely Reopened Nearly 100% of Schools—Up From 46% Open Before American Rescue Plan—Helping Address Inequities of Remote Learning: Thanks to the resources provided by the American Rescue Plan, nearly 100% of schools are now open safely for full-time, in-person instruction—up from 46% open before the American Rescue Plan. Keeping schools open safely is helping address the inequities of remote learning, such as Black and Hispanic students being more likely to remain remote through late 2020 and less likely to have what they needed to learn effectively. 
    • Cut Education Staff Shortages in Half: When When the President took office, there were 624,000 fewer staff working in our schools than before the pandemic. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, as of April, more than 300,000 of these jobs have been created, including new teachers, counselors and school staff—cutting that gap nearly in half. 
    • Sevenfold Increase in Spending, Helping Get Resources into High-Need Classrooms Quickly: The American Rescue Plan has accelerated emergency education spending sevenfold this school year, ensuring these critical resources reach students with the greatest needs quickly.
    • Independent Analysis Shows Planned Spending on Critical Resources for High-Need Students: Independent analysis by Georgetown University’s FutureEd of nearly 4,000 district plans covering over 60% of American Rescue Plan’s K-12 funding shows nearly 60% of funding is planned to address staffing, academic recovery, and mental and physical health. Because of how funding was allocated, this planned spending will benefit schools serving students the greatest needs.
  • The American Rescue Plan invested $800 million to create a new Homeless Children and Youth Fund provide wrap-around services to children experiencing homelessness, and enable them to attend and fully participate in school.
  • The American Rescue Plan provided $3 billion in additional funding for students with disabilities: These funds are being used to provide equitable, high-quality, and inclusive services to children with disabilities and their families – a critical need especially after COVID-19 exacerbated existing challenges experienced by states and school systems.

Keeping America’s College Students Enrolled and On Track to Graduate

The American Rescue Plan ‘s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided more than $10 billion to community colleges and their students, and the largest ever one-time investment – $2.7 billion – in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their students. Other investments include:

  • Approximately $190 million to Tribal Colleges and Universities
  • Approximately $11 billion to Hispanic-Serving Institutions 
  • $5 billion to Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions
  • Colleges and universities are required to dedicate roughly half of these funds toward emergency financial aid grants directly to students. The Department of Education expects a greater proportion of funds will ultimately be provided directly to students. 

Helping Hard-Pressed Families Reduce Utilities Costs and Avoid Shutoffs

  • Low-Income Home Emergency Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is on track to serve more households in FY 2022 than in any prior year in the program’s 41-year history. The American Rescue Plan provided $4.5 billion to more than double typical LIHEAP funding to modest and lower-income working families and seniors. The Biden-Harris Administration’s record funding for LIHEAP is combating the strain of the pandemic for low-income households and communities of color who disproportionately face high energy burdens – with Black households spending 32% more of their income on energy, Native American households spending 35% more of their income, and Hispanic households spending 13% more of their income on energy than the median household. 
    • Coordinated efforts to ensure benefits reached families quickly: The White House called on grantees to prioritize quick and automatic distribution of LIHEAP benefits and led expanded outreach to households, including Spanish-speaking families and communities of color.
    • Led call to action to prevent shutoffs and expedite delivery of aid: The White House has announced commitments from 14 major utility companies across the country, as well as a major delivered fuel trade association, to prevent devastating utility shutoffs and expedite the delivery of unprecedented aid.
  • First-ever national Low Income Water Assistance to provide critical nationwide water support: The American Rescue Plan funded the first-ever federal program for water assistance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has allocated over $1 billion of available LIHWAP funds to 49 states, over 100 Tribes, five territories and the District of Columbia. 
    • Water affordability concerns and growing household indebtedness disproportionately impacts low-income individuals and communities of color and can lead to multiple adverse household impacts such as service disconnections, home foreclosures, and evictions.
    • Prioritized populations that often experience the greatest barriers in accessing social service programs,including: households with low incomes that included seniors, persons with disabilities and households with children under five years old. 

Closing Health Disparities

  • Record number of enrollments into health coverage thanks to American Rescue Plan’s expansion of insurance subsidies: Over 14.5 million consumers selected or were automatically re-enrolled in health insurance coverage during the 2022 Open Enrollment Period – a 21% increase compared to the 2021 Open Enrollment Period, which ended December 15, 2020 during the last Administration. 
    • Biden Administration efforts and expanded American Rescue Plan subsidies helped lead to 26% increase in Hispanic enrollment and 35% increase in Black enrollment in health coverage on HealthCare.gov.
    • Increased access to low-cost health coverage for uninsured Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPIs): 197,000 uninsured AA and NHPIs became newly eligible for premium savings through the American Rescue Plan’s expanded subsidies. 
  • The American Rescue Plan is providing states with a new option to extend postpartum health coverage from 60 days up to 12 months.
    • This Medicaid state option helps postpartum individuals maintain health care coverage in an effort to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and to improve well-baby milestones – which disproportionately impacts Black and American Indian and Alaskan Native women. 
    • Many maternal deaths occur in the postpartum period and are considered preventable with appropriate follow-up care – the CDC has found that 66 percent of postpartum deaths are preventable.
  • The American Rescue Plan Invested $1.5 billion Towards the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse: These funds are helping to address the estimated one in five older adults in the United States currently experiencing depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance use, or another mental health disorder, with higher rates of drug overdose deaths among black men. Programs are required to target underserved populations, including but not limited to, pregnant women and women with dependent children; persons using opioids and/or stimulant drugs associated with drug overdoses; persons at risk for HIV, TB, and Hepatitis; LGBTQ individuals; rural populations; and other underserved groups.
  • Historic Investment of $25 Billion in Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) To Expand Availability of Services: HCBS help older adults and individuals with disabilities live independently outside of institutionalized settings. To date, nearly 8 million beneficiaries have received HCBS services under the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan is also funding longer-term investments to grow the pipeline of HCBS workers, as well as increase compensation and improve job quality for these workers – who are disproportionately women of color.

Reducing Hunger

  • Reached over 30 million children with the first-ever nationwide Summer EBT program
    • States estimate they were able to issue EBT cards (or add benefits to existing cards) to the families of well over 30 million children in the summer of 2021, helping children access meals when not in school.
    • The ARP Summer EBT program was critical to ensuring equitable response to food insecurity. While children from low-income families and children of color take advantage of their schools’ lunch and breakfast programs, a relatively small fraction who participate in free and reduced lunch during the school year typically access summer feeding programs. 
  • The American Rescue Plan extended P-EBT through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and expanded access to territories: The ARP provided a guarantee that low-income pre-school-age children in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have access to P-EBT benefits on the same terms as children in all other states and territories.
  • Increasing WIC Participation –disproportionately helping low-income, families of color and at-risk pregnant and postpartum women and their children
    • USDA has allocated $250 million in funding to support increased participant enrollment and retention and $120 million to reduce disparities in program delivery. Between 2016 and 2018, the overall WIC participation rate declined from 48% to 45%. WIC disproportionately supports Black and Hispanic families – with 4.4 million Hispanic, 2.4 million Black, and 1 million people of other/multi-races qualifying for the program in 2018.
    • Evidence shows that WIC is one of the most powerful evidence-based public health interventions available and is uniquely positioned to reduce racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes.

Revitalizing Local Economies Across the Country

  • The American Rescue Plan Provided $3 Billion in Grants Distributed by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build local economies that are resilient to future economic shocks. These funds are already powering an equitable recovery:
    • $300 million to revitalize hard-hit energy communities through the Coal Communities Commitment, building on the work of President Biden’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization to deliver Federal resources and assistance to the communities that have powered America for generations. 
    • $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge is reaching communities across the country: 60 finalist coalitions have received $500,000 each and are competing for up to $100 million in additional funding. Finalists include 12 coal communities and 15 Indigenous Communities. In addition, more than 80% of the finalists propose to serve rural communities. 
    • Dedicated Funding for Underserved Workers Through $500 million Good Jobs Challenge: This program will provide skill building opportunities and connect unemployed or underemployed workers to job opportunities, including by encouraging efforts to reach underserved communities, women, and other groups facing labor market barriers. EDA received 509 applications across all states and territories for the Good Jobs Challenge and will be making 25 to 50 awards in Summer 2022.
    • First-ever Native American Dedicated Funding at EDA: $100 million Indigenous Communities program is the first dedicated funding for Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders in EDA’s history.

Historic Investment in Tribal Communities 

  • Historic Tribal funding: ARP allocated $32 billion to Tribal governments, including $20 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—a historic financial level of support for over 580 Tribal governments and the largest amount of funding to Tribal governments in ARP.
  • Significant Progress Towards Equitable Recovery in Indian Country: 
    • Over 2,700 Tribal Projects Utilizing State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: To date, Tribal governments have obligated funds to nearly 900 projects that address the negative economic impacts of COVID and over 1,800 other projects that are helping Indian Country recover and strengthen capacity.
    • 25% Indigenous Communities Among EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge Finalists: Among the 60 finalist coalitions that have received $500,000 each and are competing for up to $100 million in additional funding, 15 represent Indigenous Communities. 
    • Targeted Outreach, Training and Resources to Increase CTC Enrollment Among Non-Filers in Indian Country
    • Reallocated Additional $20 Million In Emergency Rental Assistance Funding to Tribes
  • Conducted significant targeted outreach and consultations and partnered with Tribal organizations to engage all Tribal governmentsincluding those with lower capacity and the greatest needs.
  • Provided key flexibilities across programs to reduce unnecessary paperwork burdens and ensure Tribes are able to focus on recovery efforts. These included: 
    • Standard Tribal allowance of up to $10 million in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for most flexible uses
    • Expanded allowable use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds for broadband, water, and sewer infrastructure improvements
    • Simplified and streamlined reporting requirements for smaller, low-capacity Tribes.

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