26 Million Have Sought US Jobless Aid Since Virus Hit

Techlife News|April 25, 2020

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26 Million Have Sought US Jobless Aid Since Virus Hit
More than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across an economy that remains all but shut down, the government said Thursday.

Roughly 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors. About one in six American workers have lost their jobs in the past five weeks, by far the worst string of layoffs on record. That’s more than the number of people who live in the 10 largest U.S. cities combined.

Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%.

The enormous magnitude of job cuts has plunged the U.S. economy into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Some economists say the nation’s output could shrink by twice the amount that it did during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009.

An urgent question for the unemployed is how quickly the economy may rebound. Most economists expect some employers to start rehiring within a few months, though significant job gains aren’t considered likely until later in the year.

Few experts foresee a downturn anywhere near as long as the Great Depression. During the Depression, unemployment stayed high for nearly a decade, with the jobless rate remaining above 14% from 1931 all the way to 1940. But unemployment is considered likely to remain elevated well into next year and probably beyond.

The painful economic consequences of the virus-related shutdowns have sparked angry protests in several state capitals from crowds insisting that businesses be allowed to reopen. Thursday’s report, showing that the pace of layoffs remains immense, could heighten demands for re-openings.

Some governors have begun easing restrictions despite warnings from health authorities that it may be too soon to do so without causing new infections. In Georgia, gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys can reopen Friday. Texas has reopened its state parks.

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April 25, 2020