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  • Surge in unemployment claims has passed the number of jobs created during the past decade.

    Surge in unemployment claims has passed the number of jobs created during the past decade. | Photo: EFE

Published 23 April 2020
Opinion

The economy in the U.S. is expected to shrink by 5.9 percent in 2020.

Unemployment claims in the United States hit roughly 26.5 million since mid-March as a direct result of the new coronavirus pandemic, the federal government announced Thursday. 

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The figure means one in six workers; more than 15 percent of the workforce in the country, lost their job since the beginning of the outbreak.

As economists have warned, the world is experiencing its sharpest slowdown since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and the economy in the U.S. is expected to shrink by 5.9 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

In just five weeks, the surge in unemployment applications has passed the number of jobs created during the past decade.

Forty-three percent of households have endured a job loss or pay cut related to the current pandemic, while adults with lower-incomes are the most affected, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

The U.S. government has responded to the crisis with more than US$2 trillion in relief. But many people have had trouble getting through to state offices processing the applications.

Journalist Rania Khalek shared on Twitter a video declaring that the one-time payment of US$1,200 to adults who earn less than $75,000 a year—authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act last month—hasn't been sent to many U.S. workers yet and "isn't going to do a damn thing."

While Congress approved Thursday an additional US$484bn, the program, which offers low-cost loans that do not need to be repaid if the recipient meets certain conditions, has been attacked for not reaching the smallest firms.

Reports found that around two-thirds of the money so far has gone to firms with pre-existing relationships with banks, typically larger businesses.

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