Last week, another 4.4 million Americans filed for initial jobless claims, which led unemployment benefits requests to hit 26 million since the start of the coronavirus crisis, reports NBC News.
The new data released by the Department of Labor revealed that all job gains since the Great Recession have vanished. Around 22 million jobs have been created since 2010, the end of the financial crisis, in the decade of economic expansion that ended in February due to the global pandemic.
“It is very easy with these numbers to get to 20 percent unemployment,” David Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, told NBC News.
“The problem is the economy is still shut down,” said Torsten Slok, the chief economist for Deutsche Bank Securities. “The doors are still closed. There is still no smoke coming out of the chimneys in corporate America.” Given that, he adds, it is “not surprising that you continue to see significant layoffs.”
President Donald Trump has suggested in recent days that states with milder coronavirus situations could lift the economic lockdown. However, controversy about testing and timetables followed.
Many economists are worried that there could be a second wave of layoffs and unemployment claims in the future.
“I think the first wave came,” Blanchflower said, who found March job data to indicate an oncoming crisis. “People thought maybe they could hang on; then really, they can’t.”