(AmericanPoliticalDaily.Com)- The Chinese coronavirus continues spreading across the United States and the necessary measures taken to enforce social distancing and save lives destroys the economy more every week. According to the Labor Department, some 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time over the last week.
Economists predicted some 4.25 million new claims over the last week, meaning it was worse than expected. The week prior, the figure exceeded 5.5 million.
That’s a lot of people out of work because of a virus that China could have contained.
The number of continuous claims rose, too, given that people are yet to be able to return to work and many businesses cannot reopen. The number of continuous claims rose to almost 16 million.
The total number of Americans without jobs, right now, is over 26.4 million. Such a sudden rise in unemployment has not been seen in around a hundred years, since the time of the Great Depression.
President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task forces are working on helping American people and businesses during these times. Since passing the CARES Act, hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated to businesses and institutions in stages, and Americans have been given cash stimuli to help pay for household bills. But it isn’t enough.
Unemployment benefits have been changed under the CARES Act to expand the definition of who is eligible to file for the benefits. The amount of money made payable has also increased. Under the act, independent contractors and self-employed workers can file for unemployment benefits.
The Department of Labor uses the number of unemployment benefits to indicate job losses, but figures suggest that actual losses may be higher. Applications for unemployment benefits have been hindered by slow websites, phone lines being too busy to reach advisors, and other teething problems that come with unprepared systems suddenly catering for millions of new people.
Congressional Democrats recently agreed to the latest stage of coronavirus relief, which put further hundreds of billions of dollars back into the Paycheck Protection program that helps businesses keep staff employed. Until social distancing measures start to lift, however, businesses are likely to continue shutting down and more people will file for unemployment benefits.