"This will dwarf every other week in history," wrote EPI's Aaron Sojourner and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, adding, "The true impacts are undoubtedly of larger scale than described here."
The estimate is based on claims from March 15 to 21 in 35 states and Washington, D.C. and extrapolated to the other 15 states, as the nation continues to experience a rapid rise in cases of the novel coronavirus with over 52,000 cases across the country.
“Our model predicts that 3.4 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment insurance this past week, although we believe that number could be as low as 3 million or could be substantially higher,” the experts warn.
According to the report, this alone would raise the unemployment rate by more than half to 5.5 percent, moving back to 2015 levels in just one week. In comparison, the largest monthly rise in the unemployment rate in U.S. history was around 1.3 percentage points in October 1949; this week it would be 2.2.
And the figures don’t represent the complete reality as the researchers explained that the actual amount of claims "could be substantially higher." Not all unemployed workers are able to file unemployment insurance claims either, and for those that do, they'll get about half or less of their regular income.
Meanwhile, and despite advice from health experts and government officials, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to assert that the country will be “open back to business” as usual starting April 12.
The World Health Organization has warned that the rapid spread of the COVID-19 in the U.S. could shift the center of the pandemic to that nation.