April 16, 2020
New jobless data April 16 from the U.S. Department of Labor found that 5.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the four-week total during the coronavirus pandemic to 22 million. The losses reportedly equal all the jobs gained since the 2008 Great Recession.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 8.2% for the week ending April 4, an increase of 3.1 percentage points from the previous week’s rate. This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 7% in May of 1975.
“There’s nowhere to hide,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago, told The New York Times. “This is the deepest, fastest, most broadly based recession we’ve ever seen.”
On the positive side, Europe is slowly re-opening its economy with carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler and Volvo starting up factory production, albeit with safety precautions, including workers wearing safety masks, social distancing, etc.
President Trump has hinted he would like to see parts of the country running again by the beginning of May — a move some state governors don’t agree with. In Forest City, Iowa, Winnebago Industries is set to resume production May 4. The RV manufacturer April 15 laid off 79 employees. The company employs more than 2,000 people.
Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos said the company is working to incorporate mandatory coronavirus testing at its warehouse facilities. In a note to shareholders, Bezos said regular testing in the population could help jumpstart the economy. The Wall Street Journal reported the e-commerce behemoth would cancel Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotions to decrease demands on warehouse employees.