The news on the job front is grim. The hospitality industry has been hit especially hard in the last week with coronavirus closures driving countless workers out of a job. The unemployment numbers are rising rapidly by the day. Unemployment filings already jumped from 70,000 to 281,000 this week, but that number is expected to experience historic growth next week. Newsweek writes:
U.S. unemployment claims could surge by 700 percent and hit 2.25 million by the end of Saturday as American industry continues to be rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Goldman Sachs note said.
The investment bank’s economist David Choi wrote on Thursday evening that initial jobless claims may rise to their “highest level on record,” far surpassing anything seen during the 2008 financial crash.
With huge numbers of new filers, it’s no surprise the system is stressed. Some of those who are trying to file for unemployment report the online system has continuously bumped them off. CNN adds:
State employment agencies have been grappling with a sudden spike in calls, inquiring about unemployment benefits. Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity received 76,000 calls between just Monday and Wednesday, up from about 28,000 calls for the entire week before. The agency told CNN it plans to hire more than 100 individuals statewide to help answer calls and process unemployment claims.And on Thursday, New York State’s Department of Labor had received 159,000 calls, all before noon. Usually the agency gets about 10,000 calls a day.
Meanwhile, the New York Times writes that the Trump administration wants states to “keep mum about unemployment stats.”
The Trump administration is asking state labor officials to delay releasing the precise number of unemployment claims they are fielding, an indication of how uneasy policymakers are about further roiling a stock market already plunging in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
In an email sent Wednesday, the Labor Department instructed state officials to only “provide information using generalities to describe claims levels (very high, large increase)” until the department releases the total number of national claims next Thursday.