Jobless Claims Climb to 30 Million

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Fewer Americans filed for unemployment in the last week than did during the previous week, but only slightly.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), at least 3.8 million additional Americans filed in the last week bringing the total number of jobs lost during the pandemic to at least 30 million.

Pinning down the true level of unemployment isn’t easy, but senior economist Sal Guatieri of BMO Capital Markets points out that about 19% of the pre-crisis labor force has applied for benefits.

Last week, the states of Florida, Georgia, California, Texas and New York reported the biggest increases in new claims, according to the Labor Department. [...]

“Claims may continue to fall over coming weeks but will likely remain high as businesses remain closed and have no choice but to continue to reduce or furlough their workforce,” said Rubeela Farooqi, Chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

These numbers do not include a significant number of people who either don't qualify for benefits or simply haven't had their claims processed yet so we can say with some level of certainty that the true number is higher.

With that said, what concerns me the most and what should concern everyone is the fact that consumer demand will remain low for a long time to come. Combined with the possibility that we'll see another outbreak, millions of people will be out of a job for months to come. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that unemployment will average at least 10 percent through 2021, but some economists believe it could remain as high as 13 percent through the next year.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but things did not have to be this bad. The numbers are this bad because of Trump and things could get worse if we recklessly cause another outbreak by reopening too soon or too widely. Trump's refusal to act when the virus was first detected in the United States allowed it to spread and necessitated stay-at-home orders that killed 30 million jobs and counting.

I don't know if Congress still has the will to do anything, but I think it's going to become quite obvious that one-time virus checks did not cut it.