Grim statistics reveal coronavirus has decimated US economy
It was the worst month on record with the unemployment rate jumping to 14.7 percent. In February, the figure was just 3.5 percent, a 50 year low, with 113 consecutive months of more jobs being created. Erica Groshen, who was the Commissioner of Labor Statistics during most of Barack Obama’s second term as President and the first week of Donald Trump’s current term explained: “Our economy is on life support now.
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“We will be testing the waters in the next few months to see if it can emerge safely from our policy-induced coma.”
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Hospitality shed 7.7 million workers and retail lost 2.1 million.
March figures suggest 870,000 lost their jobs.
Data from earlier this week showed 33.5 million Americans have claimed benefits since lockdown began.
The Trump administration had passed a $2.3tillion (£1.85trillion) aid package while the Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates to near zero.
Americans have also been receiving $1,200 (£967.27) stimulus cheques to help them overcome this crisis.
James Knightley, an ING Bank economist, said he was doubtful the economy would see an immediate recovery.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph he said: “Social distancing, consumer angst, travel restrictions and the depressing effects of mass unemployment mean that economic activity and employment will certainly not be exhibiting a V-shaped recovery.
“If we can get unemployment back down to 8-10pc by year-end, that would likely be a ‘good’ outcome.”
Richard Flynn at Charles Schwab added: “It is clear now that the economic repercussions of this downturn are far greater than anticipated and will be felt long after employees have returned to work.
“It isn’t enough for politicians to simply declare it is time for businesses and the economy to reopen. The pace of the exit from lockdown will depend on whether workers and consumers feel safe enough to leave their homes.
“Further, there is still a risk that re-openings may lead to another shutdown if new virus cases spike.
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Trump has spent recent weeks in a war of words with some state governors over when it is time to start reopening the economy.
At the time of writing, the US death toll is 77,925.
In a recent town hall with Fox News, Trump admitted: “We have to come up with a vaccine.”
Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, tweeted on Friday: “130 million Americans have received Economic Impact Payments, worth more than $218 billion, in less than 5 weeks—record time.
“More payments are on their way to the American people!”
Eugene Scalia, the Labor Secretary, appeared on Fox News on Wednesday and insisted: “As the president said, we are in a war, a war that has drawn on Americans across the country in a way I don’t think we’ve seen since World War II.”
Despite this, California Governor Gavin Newson has said plans to allow postal voting at the November election are in motion and all 26.6 million voters in the state will receive ballots.
Restrictions will apply to in-person voting with regulations varying in the 58 counties of California.
The election is scheduled for November 3 with Trump set to face Democratic candidate former vice-president Joe Biden.
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