The US Labor Department released its data on jobless claims filed during the week ending on April 4th. These data show that 6.6 million unemployment claims were filed last week, bringing the three week total to 16.5 million Americans. These numbers are remarkably high and changed remarkably fast when compared to any other economic declines.
JPMorgan was expecting 7 million claims for the week ending April 4th while other economists projected numbers lower than 6.6 million. Throughout the past month, there has been a massive increase in Google searches for the phrase “unemployment benefits.”
The American public now recognizes the seriousness of the crisis. According to a Gallup poll of respondents from April 3rd-5th, 70% of Americans now believe the economy is in a recession or depression. These numbers are in stark contrast to the positive view Americans had of their economy before the Covid-19 pandemic. Notably, there is a split along party lines; 85 % of Democrats are more likely to think the economy is in a recession or depression compared with 53% of Republicans.