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More than 1 in 6 American workers have filed for unemployment benefits

Thursday, Apr 30, 2020

* AP

More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.

Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record. It adds up to more than 1 in 6 American workers.

In Illinois, another 81,245 people filed initial claims for benefits in the week that ended April 18, a drop of 21,691 from the previous week, the Labor Department said. Since mid-March, almost 819,000 Illinois residents have applied for unemployment insurance benefits.

With more employers cutting payrolls to save money, economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%. That would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the Great Depression.

819,000 Illinois workers would be about 13 percent of March’s civilian labor force.

* AP

U.S. consumer spending plunged 7.5% in March, reflecting the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic as Americans complied with stay-at-home orders.

The Commerce Department said that the spending decline was the sharpest monthly drop on records that go back to 1959, exceeding the previous record, a decline of 2.1% in January 1987.

Personal incomes also fell sharply last month, declining by 2% with wages and salaries, the largest part of incomes, falling by 3.1% as millions of Americans started getting lay-off notices. […]

The government reported Wednesday that the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, shrank at an annual rate of 4.8% in the January-March quarter, led by the biggest quarterly drop in consumer spending since 1980.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:08 am:

    More evidence that it’s time for people to get back to work, in a smart manner. We can’t continue to only think about the public health ramifications while completely discounting the economic ramifications. Keep calm and carry on (smartly).


  2. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:11 am:

    ==We can’t continue to only think about the public health ramifications while completely discounting the economic ramifications==

    Sorry you might die but money is more important. That’s about the jist of the argument.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    ===More evidence that it’s time for people to get back to work, in a smart manner.===

    Nope.

    The three T’s and the White House phasing plan says it’s not close to time.

    14 days of reduction hasn’t even happened.

    You can’t un-die.

    If anyone has a beef, call the White House. It’s their plan.


  4. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    “More evidence that it’s time for people to get back to work”

    You should maybe take a peek at the post two below this one.

    “We can’t continue to only think about the public health ramifications while completely discounting the economic ramifications.”

    No one — NO ONE — is completely discounting the economic ramifications.

    – MrJM


  5. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:16 am:

    Demoralized. What about a process (considered by states such as New Hampshire) as well as a recent research study that focused more on locking-down at-risk populations (over 60,pre-existing conditions, etc.), while letting others get back to work while obviously following best practices to not spread the disease? The blanket lockdown until every last person is “protected” will enact such a high economic price that you won’t want to live in the society that is created by this. I go back again to the automobile safety example, you can put every safety feature in a car, but the price will be so high that no one will buy it. We make the tradeoffs between personal safety and economic efficiency everyday, but it is pure vrture signaling to say that “sorry you might die but money is more important”


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:22 am:

    === No one — NO ONE — is completely discounting the economic ramifications.===

    This is an important thing.

    Personally, I feel for the businesses hurt, hurting, some irreparably hurt. I also feel for the workers 1 in 6…

    Here’s the thing to both;

    Thinking that it’s so widespread, and so damaging, that it’s not effecting “me”, or in the case of “seemingly no one other than me” on the other side, that’s wholly unfair to everyone that are effected too.

    This is not a chiding.

    This is rather, were in this together, i don’t want anyone infected because of “me”, nor do I want people hurt or worst by anyone, unwittingly, by asymptomatic folks, even family and friends that may be those carriers.

    I know… I know this damage, like everyone else… I also know that once you pass, you’re not coming back.

    OW


  7. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:25 am:

    While some people may like to lay all the blame for the economic ramifications of this deadly pandemic at the feet of stay-at-home orders, that isn’t the case.

    Even in Wyoming — a state with no statewide stay-at-home order — the number of unemployment applications submitted during the week ending April 25 is up more than 900% over a year ago.

    The nation’s immediate economic problem is due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, not the life-saving measures necessary to address that pandemic.

    – MrJM


  8. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:28 am:

    And the local hospitals are announcing more every day. It’s time to go back to work. May 11.


  9. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    Right you are Blue Dog Dem


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    This is not going to be a discussion or a back and fourth;

    - Blue Dog Dem-, you are what would be considered “high risk”, “most vulnerable”

    After all the chemotherapy, the trips, the medical professionals who helped, the support you got… choosing to push this opening, for money, when in you own battle, your life, as it should’ve been, and as it should continue to be, vital… this pushing by you runs so counter to someone who battled disease to live.

    Like I said, there’s not much more I’d add, or want to banter on this. Forgetting your own battle and challenges and all those who traveled with you in this journey, only to choose money versus saving other lives, ignoring that as you comment, it’s been real tough.

    I congratulate you, again, and wish you good health now, and the best after your battle.


  11. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    ==The blanket lockdown until every last person is “protected”==

    Nobody has said that. Ever.

    ==We make the tradeoffs between personal safety==

    And nobody has ever said that life is without risks. But what some of you are basically advocating for now is the equivalent of telling people they should increase their risk by going out and playing in the middle of the street. You don’t just flip a switch at this particular point in time when we are at the peak.


  12. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    OW. It’s not for me. The kids and grandkids. They will pull thru. But there needs to be a country to go back to. The pain is going to be tremendous.


  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    ==It’s not for me==

    So it’s ok if other people get sick. You’re a heckuva a guy volunteering others like that.


  14. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    I’ve tried to post an argument about 4 times and not once has it showed up. I do not understand what the issue is.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    === It’s not for me. The kids and grandkids.===

    Nope. To respond to this? It’s a must.

    Friend,

    If you’re willing to face mortality to save your kids and grandkids… for money… why go thru all the chemo in the first place to be here for them now?

    That’s the lid, for me. The cover to the discussion.


  16. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    The only thing I’d add to the discussion about medical professionals being able to begin to do “elective” procedures again on May 11, is that there are so many lives that will be impacted by being able to do preventative screening again for thing like colon cancer, etc. again (to use just one example), that OW is not fully taking into account. This doesn’t even take into account the economic truth that all hospitals depend on “elective” surgeries to stay in business.


  17. - Southsider - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    These numbers don’t even recognize the back log in processing claims or even excepting claims from 1099 workers. The coverage is also missing the lag in processing SNAP applications and new Medicaid applications. I wish the media would be asking about these two programs as well. I know covering data is hard but if someone would just ask the questions it may help a lot of newly poor people.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    === that there are so many lives that will be impacted by being able to do preventative screening again for thing like colon cancer, etc. again (to use just one example), that … is not fully taking into account.===

    Your concerned trolling for me is appreciated, but you have no idea what I’ve taken into account, or thoughts to hospitals either.

    Good try. No. I’ll speak for myself.


  19. - walker - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    Let’s stop attacking each other’s presumed values here.

    My focus is on the likelihood to infect others, measured by the “R” metric outlined earlier by Rich. When it is consistently and significantly below 1, then we are ready to ease some restrictions. Right now we are still spreading the virus exponentially even with the current restrictions.


  20. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    I agree with walker. However (and best just to look at green box of abstract) this is a notoriously difficult number to calculate accurately as even this paper from the CDC suggests. It’s not really meant for the level of precision that it is being used for in the current public health debate (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/25/1/17-1901_article)


  21. - njt - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===The blanket lockdown until every last person is “protected” will enact such a high economic price that you won’t want to live in the society that is created by this.===

    This conveys a fundamental misunderstanding of these numbers. The increase in unemployment is economically beneficial, more people a leveraging the safety nets that are being expanded. The FED is increasing other support programs. If anything, the society we might emerge into is one with UBI for all which is exactly where I’d like to be.


  22. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    I have no problem with hospitals doing elective procedures. Their surgery areas are sterile, and they can limit visitors. Their ERs have been open all along.
    As to limiting the shutdown to high risk individuals. What if they aren’t high risk but their family is? Maybe they live with grandparents.
    Do you think employers say ’sure, you stay home, I will hire a temp to replace you and your job will still be here?
    That would need to be a new disability classification for that to work, and do you know how hard it is to get social security disability now?
    Maybe the state could offer early retirement to its’ workers over 60. I can hear the screaming now ‘ the pension, the pension, the lazy state workers’.


  23. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:17 pm:

    “The blanket lockdown until every last person is “protected” will enact such a high economic price that you won’t want to live in the society that is created by this.”

    This isn’t the case today, and literally NO ONE has proposed it.

    Please argue in good faith.

    – MrJM


  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    === Let’s stop attacking each other’s presumed values here.===

    Respectfully…

    The choice of one’s values “here” is in direct conflict with how society can move forward.

    There’s a reason there’s a term Covidiots.

    Advocating a point via “values”, that’s what is being played out.


  25. - Jibba - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    The idea that that the sick can stay home and the well can go to work has been thoroughly debunked here and elsewhere. Covid did not arrive in the nursing homes in an Amazon box. Sweden has said their biggest failure was to prevent transmission to susceptible populations.


  26. - Morty - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    The set asides, over 60, pre-existing conditions, are not a negligable number. The percentages I’ve seen produces a range of 40 to 60 percent of the US population.

    Is sidelining 40 to 60% of the population somehow better than what we are doing now?

    And, as alluded to above, your job will be pushing you to go back to work, regardless of your condition. So people will be faced with a choice of contracting a virus that may kill them or poverty.

    Not to mention the social stigmas that will arise.

    When we are talking about those pre-existing conditions you are also talking about kids who have asthma or other childhood afflicitions…


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