30 Million Jobs Lost, and Counting
As of late April, 2020, the United States of America is looking at 30 million new unemployment claims filed since mid-March. This is an incredible number of people who have lost their jobs, for no other reason than states have deemed most industries nonessential, and so these industries are shut down along with statewide lock-down orders to hypothetically stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Though unfortunately for America’s economy, things are getting worse, not better.
During America’s largest ever financial collapse, the Great Depression of the early 20th century, there weren’t even 30 million people in the nation’s workforce at the time. More people in America are unemployed now than people who live in large nations like Canada and Australia altogether. There is mass poverty and suffering happening, with thousands of new evictions every day and lines extending from some food banks well over a mile.
It’s hard for people to stay home and stay sheltered from the virus when they don’t have food to eat. They’re forced to go out looking for food, and unfortunately this creates large crowds of hungry people, which will help the virus spread.
Many states are still very reluctant to open back up in any fashion and are planning on extending their lock-down orders throughout the summer, with some states even extending them indefinitely. Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey are among those states looking to stay locked down until at least the summer, while some states like New York and Maine seem to want to stay shut down, hoping to ride out a potential second wave of the virus, before they’ve even gotten past the first wave.
Some reporters in the mainstream, like Fox New’s Tucker Carlson, have pointed out that politicians are using this crisis as an opportunity to enact draconian measures to control their citizens. While this might come across as a cynical, partisan viewpoint, and perhaps is, former First Lady, Senator and Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has gone on the record a few times this past week claiming that we cannot “let a good crisis go to waste,” as she and her political ilk want to use this opportunity to force through measures like universal healthcare. As this pertains to jobs, it simply lends weight to some political hypotheses that state governors want their states closed down longer with lock-downs so they can push through their pet projects without resistance.
Hopefully this isn’t the case, as that would objectively extend unemployment and place even more burden on both Americans and America’s financial system.
There are hard times out there for millions of Americans, and they only seem to be getting harder. This week alone, another 3 million American citizens had to file for unemployment, with the government’s extended $600/weekly federal benefits threatening to run an enormous and unprecedented deficit into the trillions upon trillions of dollars. Some economists fear that if we keep going at this rate, we will be over $40 trillion in debt with hyperinflation driving the nation into another depression soon after the coronavirus passes.
The Odds of a Rebound
The odds of bouncing back from this are pretty much contingent upon states opening back up. Some states, like Georgia and Alaska, have already began to open back up. For every person able to go back to work, that’s less money they need to draw from the federal government. When enough of that stops happening, the bleeding stops. Now, how long the wound takes to heal after the bleeding entirely stops still remains to be seen, but every economist agrees that it’s going to help us to stem this bleeding sooner rather than later.
The real issue with which America is dealing now isn’t an individual one but rather an industry problem. For instance, a state like West Virginia can rescind its lock-down orders and open back up, but state economies don’t exist in a vacuum. If neighboring states are still locked down, then this leaves the open state unable to do interstate commerce, which is essentially what drives America’s economy. So what economists are looking for here is a universal “back to work” order from states, which simply is not going to happen until the virus levels off, at the very least.
America’s economy is likely to bounce back. The real fear here is in how long that will take, and if more suffering will follow the virus once it has passed.
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