According to economic experts, the coronavirus pandemic could have the U.S. looking at a staggering 10% unemployment rate for March.
That's a huge jump from February's 3.5% unemployment rate
The Labor Department reports that 6.6 million people filed unemployment claims due to the mass layoffs that have occurred across the country in the retail and restaurant industry, the travel and hospitality industry, and other industries, bringing the total number of those filing for unemployment in March to 10 million.
And, experts say it will get worse because there are still people who have not yet filed their unemployment paperwork because they either don't know that they qualify for benefits or they're confused by the process, so that number will continue to rise.
Economist Heidi Shierholz told the Washington Post that she has spent her life studying the job market and said she was shaking when she saw the “terrifying” number of job losses in March. Shierholz is predicting 20 million Americans will be out of work by July — the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression. That is her “best case” scenario if Congress does another big stimulus package to aid the economy.
There is one bright spot, those who have applied for unemployment and are approved will see more money in their checks because Congress approved additional aid for those that are unemployed that amounts to about $600 more a week in benefits.
But it's the long term damage that has economists concerned because we don't know how many of these jobs will return when the economy turns around. If businesses close permanently because of the temporary shutdown, those jobs are lost forever.
And some are predicting a slow recovery.
Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve since 2007, is predicting a slower recovery, since it will take more time for people to feel comfortable to go out to baseball games and restaurants again“The public health aspects of this have not gone as well as they have in some other countries, so the infection rate and the mortality rate is likely to be relatively high in the United States. That also means the economic impact is likely to be more severe than in some other places,” Rosengren said.