May Job Report Predicted to be Bad
As of May, 2020, over 30 million Americans have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. For a lot of these unemployed people, their jobs are likely to come back once the virus scare has passed; though for many more, their jobs are permanently gone, as we've witnessed many entire industries crumble due to the pandemic. March and April were really bad months for the unemployment numbers, while May was hoped to be better. To date, it appears as if May's jobs report is going to be very bad.
The good news here is that May's jobs report will not be as dire as April's, the previous month, though the bad news is that it is still going to be pretty brutal. According to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, May 21, the adjusted numbers show that 2.4 million Americans are filing unemployment claims every week. While this is down some from the 2.7 million filing per week last month, it's still an astronomically high number of unemployed people that is merely unsustainable.
As of right now, the federal government is giving unemployed people $600 per week in guaranteed income, on top of the 60% they draw at the state level via their employer's unemployment insurance. What this has caused is twofold. First, it has provided relief for millions of Americans who don't have a job. Though secondly, and perhaps more damaging, it has acted in no small part as encouragement not to work, as the combined money, $600 plus 60%, is ensuring that millions of Americans are earning more without a job than with a job. This has caused many people to outright quit their jobs during the pandemic, opting for unemployment, even when they can be working in an essential field.
The numbers from the Labor Department also aren't taking into account how many Americans are losing hours. There are millions of people filling for partial unemployment, rather than full unemployment. Because this stat isn't looked into, one can only speculate on the implications here. It could mean one of two things. One, it could mean that the jobs reports are worse than they seem, and that a bulk of the jobs still available still aren't fully operational, therefore taxing the system. Two, it could be showing that it's not actually that many Americans unemployed, and that these jobs will bounce back to full hours once restrictions are lifted. It's hard to know when no one is focusing on the numbers concerning hourly cutbacks in employment.
All we do know is that May's jobs report is going to be bad, with many millions of Americans having lost their jobs this month and needing to get on government assistance to live. This comes right when Congress has pushed through another stimulus spending bill, this time for $3 trillion. The costs of this virus pandemic will be felt by Americans for generations to come, if only due to the financial burdens it is imposing on the nation.
The Bleeding Has Slowed, Not Stopped
Many economists and other experts were very hopeful as April drew to a close. We saw some states like Alaska and Georgia reopening, doing away with their lock-down measures. While some feared the worst in a second wave of the virus pandemic, it was at least allowing people to get back to work. Though because so many industries rely on interstate commerce, it doesn't rightly matter what Georgia does, if Alabama, Tennessee, and other surrounding states are still locked down. States do not exist in a vacuum, especially economically speaking. It's the "United States" of America, not the "Independent States" so it's hard to get the economy to bounce back when over half of America's states are still on strict lock-downs, especially states that employ many millions of people like New York, California, Washington and Virginia.
If there's at all a silver lining here, it's that the virus pandemic has flattened its curve in almost every US state, and most states have set a start-of or mid-summer timeline for reopening. With a little luck, economists suggest, the market is strong enough to bounce back, and we can get to worrying about the national debt accrued at a later date, once this is behind us.
To put it simply, May has been a good month for slowing the bleeding, in that things haven't gotten worse. Though, unfortunately, they still haven't gotten much better.