Over 3 Million Americans Unemployed Due to Coronavirus

One of the scariest aspects of the Coronavirus is that we can never really tell just how prolific it is spreading. Because it can gestate and lie dormant for up to 14 days, while those infected can pass it on without even showing symptoms, it’s a virus that can spread exponentially and infect many people without the proverbial patient zero even knowing they’re sick. Unfortunately, the job market is working the same way.

As the Coronavirus picks up in intensity, numbers of people infected, and government measures to keep people quarantined and away from one another, the job market is teetering on the edge. Many businesses don’t know what to do. Essential businesses remain open, along with grocery stores and many restaurants and gas stations; but many others have closed their doors. The real issue here is that many are doing so preemptively, in order to safeguard against a potential outbreak.

This has resulted in over 3 million jobs lost in America last week alone. To date, March 26, this shows no signs of slowing down at all. It can take several months before the scope of COVID-19 is finally realized. It’s expected that some businesses will regret having shuttered, while others will wish they had. The only thing that can said for certain now is that millions of Americans are suffering without any hope of a paycheck coming in, and government bickering back and forth about who gets money isn’t helping ease tensions.

Earlier today, the Department of Labor reported that 3.28 million new people filed for unemployment benefits, the biggest single-week increase in filings since the Great Depression, per capita. The total number is over four-times higher than what has ever been recorded, and is 3 million more filings than the previous week, which saw only 282,000 new filings.

No one knows when this will end, or in what shape the economy will be in after it finally passes. All that is certain is that, week on week, COVID-19 is having a much more drastic impact than the week previous, and most experts predict it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it starts to get better.

States with the Highest Unemployment Numbers

Unfortunately, this is something that’s plaguing every single US state right now. No state has been immune from many people suddenly finding themselves unemployed. However, some states are dealing with a lot more unemployment than others. California, for instance, had around 189,000 new claims filed last week. Yes, with the highest overall population, this is to be expected, but with only 2,619 confirmed cases in the state, over 35,000 fewer than New York, it just goes to show how many businesses are now acting to prevent the spread, rather than allowing people to get sick first.

In terms of the spread of infectious disease, most experts agree this is a good thing, and should have actually been done a whole lot sooner, especially in states like New York and New Jersey. However, for the average American living check to check and relying on their job, this is a very bad thing that leaves them without money to pay their bill or buy groceries.

Illinois, which has over 1,800 confirmed cases, had near 115,000 new filings in a week. Big metro areas like Chicago are certainly at pandemic levels, and the virus shows no signs of slowing, nor do employers show any signs of doing anything but shutting down. For Illinois, the numbers are expected to double or even more in the weeks to come.
Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota all have over 110,000 new filings each. New Jersey, the state with the second highest level of confirmed cases, had over 155,000 filings. And New York, which seems to be America’s epicenter of COVID-19 spread, only had around 80,000. Though this isn’t surprising; New York closed down almost everything at the beginning of the month, yet the virus is still spreading like wildfire throughout the five boroughs.

A Possible Silver Lining

If at all there’s any silver lining here, it’s that most of these businesses that shut down will be falling over themselves to re-hire the same people once this all gets under control. People will be chomping at the bit to go out and eat, to have items delivered, to just go shopping again; commerce will pick back up, especially if government ever figures out a way to provide stimulus funds for struggling citizens.

Though until the world can get a handle on COVID-19, expect the jobless numbers to keep increasing.

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