The US economy has wiped out all the job gains it added over the past 11 years. And it took only five weeks for that. The number of Americans filing unemployment claims amid the coronavirus crisis surpassed 26 million, according to new data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought the economy to a standstill throughout the United States that has resulted in millions of Americans losing jobs every day. According to the latest report from the Labor Department, 4.43 million more Americans filed fresh application for unemployment benefits last week.
More Americans apply for unemployment benefits
More than 26 million Americans lost their jobs over the past five weeks, wiping out all the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in US history that started in 2009. Combined with the job reports of the prior four weeks, the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week stood at 26.45 million, representing 16.2% of the labor force.
This number far exceeds the 22.44 million jobs the country's economy added to nonfarm payroll since 2009 end, when the United States started adding jobs back after the Great Recession. Last week's report showed another 5.2 million filing for jobless claims. Although the number of people filing for fresh claims dropped this week, economists believe that the unemployment rate for April could reach 20%.
Crisis depends for US
The millions of job losses add to the collapsing oil prices, declining retail sales, manufacturing output, homebuilding and home sales have reinforced economists' contention that US economy entered into recession in March.
Although the most recent figures, for the week ending April 18, are lower than the previous two weeks, it still gives a clear picture of the damage done by the coronavirus to the world's largest economy. The coronavirus crisis has brought businesses to a standstill. Weekly jobless claims hit a record high of 6.867 million in the week ended March 28.
With the crisis deepening, the United States has seen massive protests against nationwide lockdowns to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus. President Donald Trump has been waiting with bated breath to restart the economy. A few southern US states have started lifting restrictions and are gearing up to reopen. Georgia will be the first to reopen some businesses from Friday.
As the economy begins to reopen, people will start getting back to work. However, it needs to be seen the pace at which they get back. The only silver lining in the latest report is that last week's data marked the third straight weekly decline, raising hopes that the worst is may be over.