“Another 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment last week” AXIOS, April 30, 2020 / Source: Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The Department of Labor announced on Tuesday 3.8M Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past week, bringing the total over the last six weeks to 30.3M. This equates to approximately 9% of the U.S. population and 19% of the workforce. On a positive note, the number of claims fell by 600K from the week before.

As of last week, all job gains since the Great Recession were erased. In the month of March, only 14.5% of the 12M who applied for unemployment received their first payments in the same month. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, nearly 50% more people than counted could have qualified for benefits in a four-week period. However, those people were hindered when applying or too intimidated by the process.

As of Thursday, nearly 1M workers in New Jersey filed for unemployment in the past 6 weeks. Hawaii holds the highest state unemployment rate at 37%, with more expected to claim due to overloaded servers and staffing shortages. State officials in Texas have implied Texans who do not go back to work due to concerns over the coronavirus will lose unemployment benefits after the state reopens on Friday.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Unemployment Tops 30 Million As Coronavirus Crisis Crests – The Daily Wire – 5/1/2020
The news wasn’t all bad. While the number was slightly higher than the 3.5 million economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected, the number was far lower than the record 6.8 million for the week of March 28. The latest number was also lower than the previous week, which came in at 4.4 million. Still, one in six American workers is now unemployed.

Rubio claims employers are having trouble hiring because Americans would rather collect unemployment – Salon – 5/1/2020
Senator Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., falsely claimed Wednesday on “Fox & Friends” that “a lot” of employers were “having trouble re-hiring workers” because some Americans would rather collect unemployment than go back to work. The remarks came as unemployment claims soared to a record-high 30 million across the nation.

Laid-off employees reluctant to return to reopened jobs may lose unemployment benefits – The Week – 5/1/2020
Some states, most with Republican governors, have underscored that laid-off or furloughed employees who refuse to return to work will be aggressively barred from collecting unemployment benefits. […] Texas announced Thursday it will relax its unemployment rules so people at high risk of dying from COVID-19, workers who live with high-risk people, or those without child care can still collect unemployment benefits. But everyone else faces some hard choices, especially in the food service industry, as ProPublica’s Jessica Huseman explains.

Hassett: Jobs Report Will Show Highest Unemployment Since WWII – Newsmax – 4/30/2020
“We will be looking at more bad news before things start to turn,” Hassett said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “The initial claims data that came out today accumulated to 30 million unemployed folks. What will happen is that data will get turned into the jobs report and that jobs report will show an unemployment rate that will be something like 19%. That will be the biggest unemployment rate we have had since the Second World War.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Bernie Sanders @Bernie Sanders 1 May Millions of Americans are still waiting on their unemployment benefits. But if you’re Trump’s friend and own a huge coal company, don’t worry—the government’s here to help. This obscene system of socialism for the rich has got to end. https://t.co/p1ErZjLsUP

Terry Irving @Terry Irving 1 May It’s unusual for the fact that “reopening” is code for low-paid workers to go back to dangerous jobs to be so obvious: Republican-led states signal they could strip workers’ unemployment benefits if they don’t return to work, https://t.co/1aIWkC8Ugt #Covid19NL #COVID__19

Grant David Gillham @Grant David Gillham 1 May California’s media gives broad approval to Gov. Gavin Newsom amid the coronavirus crisis. Staggering unemployment figures continue to be downplayed. Cheerleading for the lockdown appears to be the highest priority. https://t.co/1LiUUq7Ugy

John Reynolds @John Reynolds 1 May We have created a depression over a bad flu. This is absurd. It’s going to get so much worse for the country. Jobless claims spiral up and up, and millions still await first checks https://t.co/rIEYqufQbP via @CBSNews

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