News & Politics

More Than 18% of American Workers Have Now Filed for Unemployment

FILE - This Sept. 15, 2008, file photo shows Elizabeth Rose, a specialist with Lehman Brothers MarketMakers, working her post on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Home prices had sunk, and foreclosure notices began arriving. Layoffs began to spike. Tremors intensified as Lehman Brothers, a titan of Wall Street, slid into bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. The financial crisis touched off the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression. (AP Photo/David Karp, File)

Today’s new jobless filings are just as bad as they’ve been since we shut down our economy. The Department of Labor reported that 3.8 million Americans filed new jobless claims last week. That makes 30 million new claims since the mid-March economic shutdown due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The most eye-popping number: Counting only the new jobless claims, 18% of the workforce is newly unemployed. That will push the overall unemployment rate close to 25% when the monthly labor numbers for April come out next week.

Reminder, these numbers have set records unseen in our history. Prior to March, the U.S. had never seen even 700,000 new unemployment claims. For six straight weeks, we’ve seen claims over 3 million per week. On March 21, 3.3 million new claims were filed. The prior week, 282,000. During the Great Recession, the highest weekly number was 665,000.

Recession Begins: GDP Falls by 4.8 Percent – and the Worst Is Yet To Come

Compounding matters, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that our budget deficit – not the budget, just the deficit – will approach $4 trillion after we account for all the coronavirus stimulus and relief spending. Yesterday the Department of Commerce reported that Gross Domestic Product dropped 4.8%. We didn’t even see these kinds of numbers in the Great Depression.

It’s only going to get worse as the second quarter numbers come into better focus.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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