Factory shutdown due to the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week’s unemployment claims came in at 6.606 million, almost exactly matching my projection of 6.6 million. The three-week total is now up to 16.8 million since the coronavirus fully hit the economy. The past six weeks of claims have been:
- Week ended February 29: 215,000
- Week ended March 7: 211,000
- Week ended March 14: 282,000
- Week ended March 21: 3.31 million
- Week ended March 28: 6.87 million
- Week ended April 4: 6.61 million
Keep in mind that the previous record for unemployment claims was 695,000 in October 1982 and the highest number during the Great Recession was 665,000 in March 2009. The chart below from Statista shows the skyrocketing unemployment claims.
Statista, U.S. Department of Labor
The graph below is from March’s employment report and the first two weeks of unemployment claims. Unfortunately, it now appears that total job loss estimates of 17 million from just the end of March are looking to be too low. An additional 6 million will put the tip of the arrow around 23 million.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Total of 17 million with two weeks to go until the next employment report
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that the U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs in March. From the Bureau’s press release it stated, “It is important to keep in mind that the March survey reference period (March 8 to 14) predated many coronavirus-related business and school closures in the second half of the month.”
This means April’s employment report will contain at least 17 million more unemployed people. And there are two more weeks of layoffs and unemployment claims to be included. With 16.8 million more people being unemployed the unemployment rate would come in at 14.7%. Even with two more weeks of just a few million more each week, the rate will be over 17%.
The graph below is from March’s employment report and the first two weeks of unemployment claims. At 17% it will blow past the Great Recession’s 10% high mark.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Source