The unemployment figures in the United States caused by the coronavirus have no provenance and have put an end to a boom period that has lasted for more than ten years.
The country registered 6.6 million jobless claims last week, more than double the 3.1 million expected. Added to 3.3 million in the previous seven days, it implies that almost 10 million people have signed up for unemployment in just two weeks.
The figures and the speed with which unemployment is growing are historical. The previous record was recorded in 1982, with 695,000 unemployed. Closing economic activity to prevent the spread of the pandemic has forced business closings and mass layoffs, and is leading the United States into a deep recession. Goldman Sachs’ latest calculations predict a 34% decline in wealth in the second quarter.
The situation on the labor market will be clearer tomorrow when the March data is released. And April will be even worse. The United States Congress has approved a $ 2.2 trillion aid program that will include the direct delivery of cash to citizens to alleviate the ravages of the crisis. In addition, the White House is studying an infrastructure plan of another 2 trillion to stimulate employment.
This unprecedented effort will not avoid a strong slowdown in the evolution of the business fabric. Profits for large US companies are estimated to drop 3.7% in the first quarter and 9.6% between April and June.