Quantcast
Connect with us

‘A portrait of disaster’: Experts warn 6.6 million new jobless claims portend an unparalleled crisis

Published

on

Steve Mnuchin whispering to Trump to sign the documents (Photo: Screen capture)

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that 6.6 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, a staggering and record-breaking surge in unemployment that comes as the coronavirus outbreak has completely shuttered large swaths of the economy and sparked mass layoffs nationwide.

“I have spent the last twenty years studying the labor market and have never seen anything like it.”
—Heidi Shierholtz, Economic Policy Institute

ADVERTISEMENT

The new figures bring the total number of unemployment claims for the month of March to 10.4 million, surpassing the number of jobs lost during the entirety of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The 6.6 million new unemployment claims are more than double the previous record of 3.28 million claims set just last week.

“The labor market is contracting at the rate of one Great Recession per 10 days,” tweeted The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson.

Heidi Shierholtz of the Economic Policy Institute said that in her two decades of studying the labor market, she has “never seen anything like” the spike in unemployment in that the U.S. has experienced over the last two weeks.

“This chart is a portrait of disaster,” Shierholz tweeted, pointing to a Labor Department graphic depicting the steep rise in jobless claims. “Unemployment insurance claims for the last two weeks are mind-blowing.”

Shierholz said the unparalleled rise in jobless claims cries out for an immediate and sweeping response from Congress, which is officially on recess until April 20.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Given the extraordinary deterioration of the labor market in a matter of weeks,” said Shierholz, “federal policymakers will absolutely need to come back and provide more desperately needed relief, and more support for the recovery once the lockdown is over.”

“We need an unprecedented economic stimulus. We need a Green New Deal.”
—Sunrise Movement

The multi-trillion-dollar stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump last Friday includes a one-time $1,200 direct cash payment to millions of Americans and a $600 increase in unemployment benefits for a period of four months, but those benefits have not yet reached the bank accounts of those who are eligible.

ADVERTISEMENT

Around 70 million eligible Americans may not see stimulus payments for months because they don’t have direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Brookings Institution.

“That’s now 10 million people who have no income and no [health] insurance at the beginning of a pandemic,” progressive radio host Benjamin Dixon tweeted after Thursday’s numbers came in. “Any politician NOT calling for a minimum of $2000/month [universal basic income] and nationalized healthcare will be complicit with the total collapse of our system.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The youth-led Sunrise Movement said the rapid economic meltdown makes the case for a Green New Deal.

“We need an unprecedented economic stimulus,” the group tweeted. “We need a Green New Deal.”

Economists have warned in recent days that unemployment is likely to continue soaring in the coming weeks before the crisis begins to subside.

ADVERTISEMENT

Miguel Faria-e-Castro, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wrote in an analysis last week that 47 million workers could lose their jobs by the end of June, which would bring the unemployment rate to 32.1%. The unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Depression was 25%.

“These are very large numbers by historical standards,” wrote Faria-e-Castro, “but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”

Economist Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, tweeted Thursday that “there’s a debate in Congress…about whether to quickly add more economic stimulus or wait and see what happens with what we’ve done so far.”

“I’m congenitally a careful, wait-and-see type, BUT NOT NOW!” Bernstein said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What should go in a phase 4 stimulus?” Bernstein continued. “Nutritional support (very helpful in last recession), state fiscal support (states facing huge demands amidst tanking revenues), more help to households through round 2 checks, [and increased unemployment insurance] beyond end of July.”

Quoting a famous scene from the movie “Jaws,” Bernstein added: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

The Arab uprisings were weakened by online fakes

Published

on

The Arab uprisings a decade ago were supercharged by online calls to join the protests -- but the internet was soon flooded with misinformation, weakening the region's cyber-activists.

When Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011, rumours and uncertainty created "panic and hysteria", said ex-activist and entrepreneur Houeida Anouar.

"January 14 was a horrible night, so traumatic," she said. "We heard gunfire, and a neighbour shouted 'hide yourselves, they're raping women'."

As pro-regime media pumped out misinformation, the flood of bogus news also spread to the internet, a space activists had long seen as a refuge from censorship and propaganda.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Dr. Fauci warns of post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge in US

Published

on

The United States is the worst-affected country, with 266,074 Covid-19 deaths, and President Donald Trump's administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.

"There almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel," Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union."

Travel surrounding Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday made this the busiest week in US airports since the pandemic began.

"We may see a surge upon a surge" in two or three weeks, Fauci added. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's the reality."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Sidney Powell’s new election lawsuit cites election experts she won’t even name: legal expert

Published

on

President Donald Trump's former election lawyer, Sidney Powell, has filed her lawsuit in Georgia suing Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) for what she says is a fraudulent election.

But lawyer Mike Dunford explained that it doesn't exactly work that way. Reading through Powell's court document "Emergency Motion for Declaratory, Emergency, and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Memorandum in Support Thereof."

"If you want emergency relief it is very helpful to be as clear and concise as humanly possible," he explained. "Pointing the court back to your 100+ page complaint with its 29 exhibits isn't how that is best done. To put it very mildly."

Continue Reading