“The labor market is showing us what I think we all know, that the economy is falling off a cliff at an unprecedented rate,” said one economist.

 

Around 5 million more people filed for first-time unemployment claims last week, as the job market in every sector of the economy continues to be devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The staggering weekly number comes as President Donald Trump weighs plans to pull back on the social distancing measures that have shuttered businesses across the country, and reopen parts of the economy as soon as May 1.

State-mandated lockdowns have choked vast portions of the once-booming economy, kicking a total of 22 million people out of work and launching the nation into the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Still, even that number may not tell the whole story, as state unemployment offices continue to struggle to process the unprecedented number of people rushing to file claims.

“The job losses are historic,” economist Julia Coronado said. “It means that we are going to be in for a double-digit unemployment rate.”

Weekly jobless claims have taken on new importance as economists and policymakers try to get their arms around the size of this crisis.

“The labor market is obviously very, very important, and has a high correlation with what is going on in the economy,” Jay Bryson, the acting chief economist at Wells Fargo, told NBC News. “It is showing us what I think we all know, that the economy is falling off a cliff at an unprecedented rate.”

Source: NBC News

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