US files 22Mn Job losses

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Last week, 5.2 million people filed unemployment claims, bringing the total to 22 million in the four weeks since President Trump declared a national emergency.

More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid since President Trump declared a national emergency, a staggering loss of jobs that has wiped out a decade of employment gains and pushed families to line up at food banks as they await government help.

The United States has not seen this level of job loss since the Great Depression, and the government is struggling to respond fast enough to the deadly coronavirus health crisis and the widespread economic pain it has triggered.

Layoffs are mounting in nearly every sector as businesses have been forced to close in an effort to stem the spread of covid-19. Many companies that remain open report a huge drop-off in sales. New data show manufacturing production cratered in March by the most since 1946, and new home construction saw the biggest decline in nearly 40 years.

“We are going to go through a couple of quarters, at least, where things will be bad,” said Patrick Harker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. “I could see a [jobless] number hovering around or slightly below 20 percent, even.”Government aid has been slow to arrive for many Americans, exacerbating the downturn. The Small Business Administration stopped accepting loan applications on Thursday after it ran out of funds for a key program that is supposed to help businesses stay afloat and retain workers.

State unemployment offices are so overwhelmed that many people are still waiting for unemployment payments weeks later, and few states have done anything yet for the self-employed and gig workers who are desperate for aid. Even the federal government’s relief payments referred to by many as “stimulus checks” have been held up by various glitches. About half of the payments have gone out so far.

“If we weren’t doing well, the market wouldn’t be at a level that it is today,” Trump said Tuesday(14)

Last week, 5.2 million people filed unemployment insurance claims, the Labor Department reported Thursday, making it among the biggest spikes ever, although smaller than the 6.6 million people who applied the week before and the record 6.9 million people who applied the week that ended on March 28.

These crushing jobless numbers have played a key role in Trump’s intensifying push to reopen the economy. The White House on Thursday (14) released new guidelines putting those decisions in the hands of states, but Trump reiterated his optimism that the lockdowns will end soon.

“We must have a working economy and we want to get it back very very quickly, and that’s what’s going to happen. I believe it will boom,” Trump said in a news conference.

In addition to health concerns, Americans typically slash their spending when they see widespread job losses and pay cuts among their friends and family members, another issue likely to prevent a rapid recovery.

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