As the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rapidly rises, the number of unemployment claims increases as well. Last week, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment per the Department of Labor. This is the largest spike in claims since 1982 and economists expect millions more to follow. This ends the 113 consecutive months of job growth, and the unemployment rate is now its highest since 2015.
Businesses in many non-essential industries remain closed. This caused revenue to dry up, resulting in mass employee layoffs. With the number of positive coronavirus tests increasing, it may be months before these businesses reopen. Industries hit the hardest by this pandemic include restaurants and brick and mortar retail establishments. Grocery stores, banks, animal hospitals, gas stations, and telecom providers remain open throughout the nation.
In an effort to mitigate the disastrous economic effects of this virus, the United States Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill Wednesday night. The aid package includes aspects such as direct cash payments, expanded unemployment benefits, and billions of dollars in grants to businesses.
News of this bill passage helped the stock market ascend more than 15% from its Monday afternoon lows. The house is expected to pass the bill on Friday. Depending on how long the current situation lasts, congress may pass additional legislation in the coming weeks.
Rise in Confirmed Cases
Currently, there are more than 90,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. The U.S. recently passed the total number of cases in China, and now has the highest total number of cases in the world. Just under half of these cases are in New York state. Many estimates project the number of cases in the U.S. to exceed one million by mid-April. Considering the high trajectory of new cases, despite tight restrictions, it will likely be months until things return to normal.
President Trump has, however, expressed a desire to open the country back up by Easter, just two weeks from now. Certain regions of the country with less extreme case totals may indeed end up doing so. However, in areas such as New York City, it could take until the Summer for normality to return. The last thing anyone wants is a drastic spike in cases after the crisis has seemingly subsided.
Throughout the world, we’ve never seen anything quite like what’s happening now. A month and a half ago the American economy was arguably the most stable it has ever been. Now, we’re in the midst of the worst economic period since the Financial Crisis of 2008. Nevertheless, a return to economic prosperity is imminent. The question is simply a matter of when. For the time being, the most crucial responsibility is staying safe and helping others stay safe as well.