Over 22 million U.S. citizens have lost their jobs in the last four weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown measures have swept across the US, according to official figures.
5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the period from April 4 to April 11 only. In the prior week. this number was 6.62 million. The median estimate of economists is 5.5 million, with projections ranging as high as 8 million.
According to the recent reports, the US unemployment rate is currently around at least 17% – far above the 10% reached in the wake of the recession that ended in 2009.
Last week, banks started to lend to small businesses to keep payrolls intact, part of a $2 trillion stimulus package. The Paycheck Protection Program was on the verge of depleting its $349 billion in funds this week and lawmakers were haggling over boosting the plan. However, many companies reported difficulty accessing the money.
The delivery of stimulus funds to Americans and businesses is intended to help determining the speed of any recovery in output and employment. Most economists expect that it could take several years or longer to return to employment levels seen before Covid-19 arrived in the U.S.
On April 16, thousands of protesters in cars and on foot flouted Michigan’s stay-at-home orders to demand the state reopened. The main target of protesters was democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer, with some chanting ‘lock her up’ on the steps of Lansing’s town hall.
— Michigander 🤚🏻 (@republican_mi) April 15, 2020
As of April 16, the real economic situation and the growth of the unemployment rate in the US appeared to be much worse than it had been forecasted in early April. The threat to the debt market also seems to be underestimated.
The Trump administration contributed an extensive effort to support enterprises and citizens through federal and regional economic programs. However, they are apparently insufficient to stabilize the situation amid the almost nation-wide lockdown.
If significant COVID-19 restrictions on business activity remain in force by the end of April, the situation will likely worsen. The United States, alongside with the rest of the world, is nearing an economic and social crisis comparable to the Great Depression.
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- IMF Warns That ‘Great Lockdown’ To Rival Great Depression With 3% Hit To Global Economy
- U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Blow Past Six Million Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns