Apr 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher"

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Monday on CNBC that U.S. unemployment, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, could already be as high as 13% "and moving higher."

Why it matters: Yellen said the country should expect a GDP drop of "at least 30%" in the second quarter, based on indicators she's reviewed — though she said she has seen even higher projections.

What she's saying: "This is a huge, unprecedented, devastating hit, and my hope is that we will get back to business as usual as quickly as possible," Yellen said.

The big picture: At least 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the past two weeks, and more are expected to do so in the weeks ahead.

  • That volume means many states are struggling to keep up with the number of incoming unemployment applications. For example, Florida's unemployment office received 1.5 million calls in the last week of March.

Go deeper: Coronavirus could force the world into an unprecedented depression

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