On the morning of April 2nd, the US Labor Department released its weekly jobless report. 6.6 million Americans filed claims, doubling the 3.3 million from the previous week. The number is roughly ten times higher than the pre-COVID-19 record of 695,000 from October 1982. Unemployment is now expected reach roughly 10%, up from February’s low of 3.5%.
Never before has the US seen job losses so massive that have occurred so quickly. “What usually takes months or quarters to happen in a recession is happening in a matter of weeks,” said Bank of America’s chief US economist Michele Meyer.
The crisis may soon result in the highest ratio of debt-to-GDP in the US since World War II. Deficit spending over the next two years could bring the national debt to $29 trillion. And, in the near term, the US is likely facing recession as a result of the economic disruption caused by the virus.