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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Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department late Tuesday following reports of police kettling in protesters on Manhattan Bridge.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.