Two new studies have found that after an ambitious expansion of the safety net in the spring saved millions of people from poverty, the aid is now largely exhausted and poverty has returned to levels higher than before the coronavirus crisis. The number of poor people has skyrocketed by 8 million since May, according to researchers at Columbia University, after falling by 4 million at the pandemic’s start as a result of a $2 trillion CARES Act. Using a different definition of poverty, researchers from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame found that poverty has grown by 6 million people in the past three months. The recent rise in poverty has occurred despite an improving job market since May, an indication that the economy had been rebounding too slowly to offset the lost benefits. And now, the economy is showing new signs of deceleration, amid layoffs, a surge in coronavirus cases and deadlocked talks in Washington, D.C., over new stimulus.
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