Friday, April 3, 2020

3.3 million more unemployed in a week

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The US economy went from near full employment in early March to a recession three weeks later.

A closed shop in Michigan.
A closed shop in Michigan. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP

As feared, unemployment is skyrocketing in the United States. The US economy went from near full employment in early March to a recession three weeks later. We learned on Thursday that 3.28 million Americans were unemployed between March 14 and March 21. The previous week, only 282,000 had done so.

We had never seen such an acceleration before. The record for weekly initial claims for unemployment benefits dates back to October 1982, with less than 700,000 new registrations. Yet American companies suffered from a chronic labor shortage only yesterday. Those who are claiming compensation today know that they are not generally laid off on a permanent basis. But their income is gone.

Employers in sectors such as hotels, restaurants, transportation and industry plan to re-hire previously trained staff, whom they reluctantly lay off. AT

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