Actions to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the United States have erased almost all the jobs created since the Great Recession of 2008.
More than 5.2 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the figure to more than 22 million unemployed in the past month, according to information released Thursday by the Labor Department. The data constitutes the chain of greatest job loss and the fastest since records exist (1948), erasing almost all jobs created for nine and a half years, since the end of the Great Recession. The historical record is marked by the enormous impact on the labor market that containment measures have had to tackle the coronavirus in the United States. Wall Street started mixed after knowing the devastating figures, but managed to close slightly higher: The Dow Jones rose 0.1%, the S&P 0.5% and the Nasdaq technology 1.6%.
In addition to state aid to the unemployed, more and more Americans are now receiving an additional $ 600 (553.5 euros) per week under the umbrella of the largest economic stimulus package approved in the history of Congress, for more than two billions of dollars. This morning, the $ 350 billion small business loan program ran out of funds. Congressmen are negotiating a new wave of stimuli that has yet to reach consensus. Republicans, first of all, want to push ahead with a $ 250 billion package aimed only at small businesses. For their part, Democrats are seeking to pass a larger funding plan that also favors hospitals and local governments. The world’s leading power is the epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 30,000 deaths and nearly 640.
Before the coronavirus crisis, the worst week on record in the United States had been in 1982, with 685,000 applications for unemployment aid. In a four-week period, the worst figure was this fall, when 2.7 million applications were accumulated. During this Administration, the figures used to be around 200,000 weekly, considering that there was full employment. But all of that changed overnight. In just two weeks in March, more people applied for benefits than during the first six months of the Great Recession. An unprecedented fact in the history of the world’s leading power that now, due to the pandemic, breaks the streak of almost a decade of continuous job creation.
The official unemployment rate in the United States is 4.7% in March, although it does not reflect the impact of the economic slowdown because the survey was conducted during the first two weeks of the month. The previous figure, in February, was the lowest in the last 50 years. Experts forecast that unemployment could rise to 15% or 20%. Starting next week, nearly 80 million Americans will receive government aid checks to alleviate the economic crisis caused by the virus to so many families: adults will receive 1,200 dollars (about 1,108 euros) and those under 17 years, 500 (461 euros). The amount is less for taxpayers with annual income of more than $ 75,000 (68,600 euros). The checks will have the name of President Donald Trump printed on it. Never before has the treasury sent the heels on behalf of the agent on duty.
Direct injections of money into citizens’ pockets are part of the stimulus plan signed in March. The measure seeks to boost consumption amid the pandemic. Retail sales, which account for almost a quarter of consumer spending, suffered a record 8.7% drop in March due to measures to control the spread of the outbreak, according to data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department. The White House and Congress are negotiating a new aid package to deal with this crisis, making it clear that the $ 2 trillion plan was not enough.