Apr 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

How to understand the scale of American job decimation

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Sentence from a nightmare: 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a decline from the previous week's 6.9 million.

The big picture: Over the past three weeks, 1 in 10 working-age adults filed for unemployment, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: We're not even close to understanding the long-term ramifications of America rocketing from sub-4% unemployment to what could be Depression levels in about a month.

  • This is just the first wave, since we don't know how many businesses will fail while waiting on reopening or bailouts.
  • Once the lockdowns end, we don't know how businesses will behave in a world where the next lockdown is just a new outbreak away.

But we do know:

  • More pain is on the way, and it will be felt with savage inequity.
  • We mustn't become numb to the scale of these numbers.
  • We each must play our role: If you're not an essential worker, that means staying home and avoiding group gatherings.

The bottom line: Now is the time to behave in ways that you can recount with pride for future generations.

  • What's next: President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy, driven in part by the overwhelming number of Americans who have filed for unemployment since the start of the pandemic, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

Go deeper

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.