The peak of coronavirus infections and deaths appears to finally be behind us -- knock on wood -- but we can see that the economy and labor market are not going to heal overnight even if states are slowly lifting restrictions on business activity.
Although coronavirus infections have fallen off a cliff compared to where they were just four weeks ago, jobless claims are still increasing.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid rose last week to 861,000, evidence that layoffs remain painfully high despite a steady drop in the number of confirmed viral infections.
Applications from laid-off workers rose 13,000 from the previous week, which was revised sharply higher, the Labor Department said Thursday. Before the virus erupted in the United States last March, weekly applications for unemployment benefits had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.
In total, over 18 million Americans are still receiving some form of unemployment. The vast majority are receiving benefits from the federal government under legislation that only Democrats support at this point.
Republicans continue to oppose the coronavirus relief package that Democrats are advancing through the reconciliation process even though it's clear people are going to need help if we actually want them to spend money as the coronavirus dissipates. Infections may slow to a crawl and daily deaths may fall into the dozens rather than hundreds in the coming weeks and months, but that doesn't necessarily mean economic activity will return what was "normal" before the pandemic started.
The economy and most employment is driven by average working Americans spending money and it's average workers who will come out of the pandemic with the deepest hole in their pockets. There's no better time to send everyone stimulus checks.
Republicans don't believe in helping people, of course, but they're also economically illiterate. They don't understand how anything works. Most of them still believe tax cuts increase revenue.