New Unemployment Claims Top 30 Million As Pandemic Panic Pushes People Out Of Work

According to new figures released by the Department of Labor on April 30, 2020, more than 3.8 million people filed for unemployment last week.

Taking into account the recent surge in jobless claims, total claims for unemployment now exceed 30 million in a matter of six weeks.

Per the Labor Department’s data, new unemployment claims reached 26 million last week with 4.4 million Americans making new claims in the previous week. Tristan Justice of The Federalist noted the following:

More than 5.2 million Americans had filed the week earlier, 6.6 million had filed the previous week, 6.9 million had filed the week before that, and 3.3 million people filed between March 15–21. Each week since the start of the pandemic stemming from the novel Wuhan coronavirus pandemic had shattered the previous record set for the most unemployment claims within a single week in 1982 with 695,000 new claims.

The national unemployment rate is expected to reach 15 to 20 percent when the new jobs report comes out May 8. According to the latest unemployment rate highlighted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate was at 4.4 percent in March before the Wuhan virus pandemic did most of its damage.

Congress has greenlit nearly $3 trillion in stimulus spending to bolster unemployment insurance at a time when the U.S. economy has been completely dislocated by government-imposed shutdowns.

Additionally, Congress established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide crucial financial assistance to small businesses who are on the ropes thanks to the lockdowns. Justice broke down the numbers of the PPP:

The popular program was replenished with fresh cash in another nearly $500 billion stimulus bill earlier this month after a week-long partisan battle on Capitol Hill. Democrats stalled the bill, blocking clean-funding of the program to demand money for long-advocated programs. While small businesses received $310 billion in new relief, Congress also allocated money to hospitals, testing efforts and emergency disaster loans.

Although unemployment claims now surpass 30 million, a large segment of state and local leaders are hesitant about reopening the economy until mass testing is readily available or a vaccine is brought on the market, both developments are years away from likely emerging.

In the meantime, certain residents and representatives are getting restless with their state government’s inaction on re-opening as in the case of Texas.

Policymakers will have to re-open sooner or later, or they will have to deal with considerable unrest.