Economic Opportunity

Public policy should make it easier, not harder, for folks to get ahead. But Alabama’s long-standing failure to invest adequately in education, job training and other services has limited wage growth for everyday workers and has fueled a growing income gap between our richest and poorest residents. And our state’s tragic, painful history on race relations means those structural barriers often place an even greater burden on black and Hispanic residents. Arise researches the hurdles that stand in the way of shared prosperity and advocates for proven policy solutions to expand economic opportunity for everyone.

Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021

Introduction When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alabama in March 2020, it didn’t just cause massive human suffering and economic disruption. It also revealed suffering and disruption that have long existed and that policymakers have long neglected – or even perpetuated. COVID-19 has laid bare deep racial inequities in Alabama’s economy and social system that have [...]
Issues
Budgets, Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Alabama Arise
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 1 – Introduction: The high cost of failing to protect the common good

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alabama in March 2020, it didn’t just cause massive human suffering and economic disruption. It also revealed suffering and disruption that have long existed and that policymakers have long neglected – or even perpetuated. COVID-19 has laid bare deep racial and gender inequities in Alabama’s economy and social system that [...]
Issues
Budgets, Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes, Allan Freyer, Carol Gundlach
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 2 – Unequal by design: COVID-19 and Alabama’s policy legacy

COVID-19 revealed a stark reality about Alabama’s economy from the beginning: Our state has stacked the deck against underpaid working people. A high poverty rate, low educational attainment and poor health outcomes – with racial, ethnic and geographical disparities in all of these measures – are the results of low wages, low taxes and low [...]
Issues
Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes, Resha Swanson
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 3 – Assessing the damage: COVID-19 and Alabama’s labor market

Where are we now? The COVID-19 recession hit vulnerable Alabama workers hard and fast. Alabamians working in low-paying industries suffered immediate and severe job losses, which fell hardest on women and people of color. Unemployment insurance (UI), designed for just such a moment, was inadequate and insufficient to the needs of these workers because of [...]
Issues
Budgets, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach, Dev Wakeley
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 4 – Praised but underprotected: Front-line workers in the pandemic

Where are we now? Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve grown used to seeing, and applauding, signs in front of hospitals, fire departments, police stations and other emergency service providers saying “Heroes work here.” And we’ve learned to say “thank you” to people serving their communities’ needs at grocery, drug and convenience stores. We’ve learned [...]
Issues
Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach, Dev Wakeley, Allan Freyer
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 5 – Why coverage matters: Health care in the time of COVID-19

Where are we now? While the COVID-19 pandemic has slammed all segments of Alabama’s economy and society in one way or another, the health care industry is where most of these effects converge. By the end of 2020, more than 350,000 Alabamians had tested positive or were considered likely positive for the virus, 72% of [...]
Issues
Budgets, Health, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 6 – The ugly reality: Alabama’s hunger problem during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to widespread hunger in Alabama. We all have seen the pictures – lines of cars stretching for blocks waiting to receive an emergency food box, desperate appeals from food banks that distributed as much food in the first six months of the pandemic as they did in the prior year, [...]
Issues
Budgets, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 7 – No place to call home: Housing insecurity amid COVID-19

Where are we now? More than 800,000 job losses in the first eight months of the pandemic caused Alabamians severe economic damage and heightened insecurity. Thousands of Alabamians face potential eviction and homelessness as a result of the pandemic. And unfortunately, the state’s recent scattershot approach to eviction policy has resulted in inconsistent protection for [...]
Issues
Budgets, Housing, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Dev Wakeley
Handbook

How to get help in Alabama during the COVID-19 crisis

Last updated March 16, 2021. Life is changing quickly for everyone during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. Protecting yourself and your family from the virus is the first of many concerns. The pandemic also has left many Alabamians worried about food, health care, housing, job security and other basic needs. Alabama has a safety [...]
Issues
Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
April 16, 2020
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Unemployment insurance improvements, recovery rebates will help Alabamians hurt by COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented increase in unemployment insurance claims nationally. And the story is the same in Alabama, where 74,056 UI claims were filed in the week ending Saturday, March 28. That’s easily a record high since 1987, the earliest year for which weekly data is available for Alabama. The number of [...]
Issues
Safety Net, Tax Reform, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
April 1, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
All Issue Resources