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US Jobless Claims Hit 33.5 Million

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The United States has recorded unprecedented claims for unemployment benefits as job losses continue to follow in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Since COVID-19 hit America, there have been 33.5 million applications lodged for unemployment benefits. This past week alone saw an increase of 3.2 million jobless claims which deem one in five people in America unemployed. The 33.5 million newly jobless Americans join the initial 7.4 million people that were unemployed prior to the pandemic.

These unemployment levels are similar to those seen during the Great Depression in the 1930s. As of March 2020, unemployment rate was recorded to be 4.4% per cent. Meanwhile, all attention will be placed on May’s statistics. The report will be released on 8th May with figures projected to be up to 20 per cent. A turnaround in these figures hinges on the reopening of the economy.

America aims to reopen the country by refocusing their attention on breathing life back into the economy. Businesses will reopen once again in a bid to ease the financial blow on government stimulus and a step towards returning to a state of normalcy. The speed at which layoffs are occurring is already slowing, with the first week of April 2020 recording close to seven million jobless claims.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, signed a bipartisan $2 trillion economic relief plan to offer assistance to millions of American households affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The stimulus package included but was not limited to assistance for individuals, student loan changes, expanded unemployment coverage and different retirement account rules. Specifically, a $1,200 check was given to most adults as an emergency financial relief effort.

America plans to borrow a further $US2.999 trillion over the three months to the end of June, which will be in addition to the $US677 billion that it will borrow in the subsequent quarter. This act is to attempt to provide some stability into the economy until it can reopen once again. Ultimately, the development of a cure to the virus will be the turning point that breathes life back into the economy.

The abovementioned borrowing amount for the June quarter is six times the previous three-month record during the GFC which was $US530 billion. This figure blows out Trumps original budget as COVID-19 continues to place a further economic strain on the economy. Nevertheless, experts caution that the Treasury is likely to be pressured to borrow more as financially struggling state governments ask for further aid from Washington.

By Caroline Wong 

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