Nightmare upon nightmare cascaded through the American economy as CNN reported that Thursday’s job losses rose 3,000 percent from those reported last week, with an astonishing 6.6 million first-time claims coming in.
Politico reported that unemployment systems are crashing in multiple states as old computer systems overload, meaning that not only do people wait for hours or even days to get their claims in but they have the unhappy prospect of a long delay before any benefits arrive. With no money coming in and no prospect of any for weeks or even months, the outlook is grim for those suddenly jobless in the coronavirus crisis.
For those who do manage to get through or file, there are still hurdles to be jumped, since states are still struggling to put together guidelines for those newly qualified to file—gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors among them.
And it’s likely to get even worse as days go by, with CNBC reporting that 49 percent of employers are considering layoffs while more than a third are freezing new hires. It cites a Federal Reserve estimate that “[t]he coronavirus economic freeze could cost 47 million jobs and send the unemployment rate past 32 percent.” According to the St. Louis Fed, that grim reality isn’t far off; Popular Resistance quotes its projection of 32.1 percent unemployment as being possible by the end of June.
At that rate, an estimated 47 million people would be unemployed–”more than three times worse than the peak of the Great Recession,” when unemployment peaked at 24.9 percent, according to Popular Resistance. But, as noted by a Fed economist, “this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”
Just last week reported jobless claims were at 3.3 million. And for every report that of Walmart, Target and Kroger hiring tens of thousands of new workers to meet the demand of the new normal, there seems to be a report of an iconic firm such as Macy’s shutting most or all of its stores and furloughing nearly all employees.
Rasmussen Reports also found that 91 percent are concerned about the financial impact of the coronavirus, with 67 percent saying they’re “very concerned.”