News & Politics

A Staggering Number of American Workers Has Now Filed for Unemployment

FILE- In this Sept. 16, 2008, file photo traders work in the product options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York. 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. Stock markets shuddered and then collapsed in a cascading panic that government officials struggled to stop. The financial crisis touched off the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Another week, another 3 million-plus jobless claims. That brings the total to 33.5 million first-time filers in the past seven weeks, or 21% of all American workers. The unprecedented assault on our economy due to the Wuhan coronavirus continues unabated.

According to the ADP National Employment Report, payrolls fell by 20.2 million jobs in April, which dwarfs the previous record:

The losses were broad-based across small-, medium- and large-sized businesses as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country and forced companies to shut down. The services sector was hit the hardest: 16 million service jobs were lost last month.

“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented. The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

Reminder: weekly jobless claims were hovering just over 200,000 when we pulled the plug on economic activity. The previous record was 655,000.

COVID-19 Reveals Structural Weaknesses in the Economy—and the Fed Is Running Out of Options

Making matters worse, continuing job claims rose to 22.6 million. That’s the number of workers who have filed for two or more weeks of unemployment benefits. Many have speculated that the large number of service industry jobs lost may not be coming back anytime soon, and energy markets are still struggling due to low demand. The ripple effects throughout the economy will continue to cause volatility and stress, hampering any recovery from such a large shutdown of economic activity.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the official monthly labor report on Friday. It will not be pretty.

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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