Coronavirus crisis: Experts forecast 40 million US unemployment claims by next month

The US recorded 5.2 million unemployment claims last week, taking the total to more than 20 million in the past month alone. This is the worst stretch of American job losses on record as lockdown brings the US to a standstill. However, experts fear there is far worse to come.

The latest weekly tally from Washington’s department of labour claims there has been 3.3.million claims in the past seven days alone.

This adds to the 6.6 million claims seen the week before, a record 6.9 million the week before that.

Experts claim there is far more job losses to come as unemployment continues to rise for the world’s largest economy.

Joseph Briggs, an economist at Goldman Sachs, said: “We expect that claims will remain very elevated in coming weeks as states struggle to clear backlogs and more companies lay off workers in response to the shutdown.

“Including this week, we currently project an additional 20 million in initial jobless claims through the end of May, after which we expect new claims to fall to levels consistent with prior recessions.”

The news comes after all non-essential have been closed in nearly every state in the US.

Deep job losses have been inflicted on every industry as the US attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Some economists think the unemployment rate will rise as high as 20 percent.

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This would see the financial crisis of 2008 pale in comparison to the coronavirus pandemic.

Experts have compared the economic crisis of the coronavirus to levels of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Earlier this week the IMF forecast that the American economy would shrink by 5.9 percent in 2020.

However, some experts think the damage caused could be even worse, but expect a quick rebound when the lockdown ends.

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The latest jobs figures come a day after dismal data showing a record drop in US retail sales in March and the biggest decline in factory output since 1946.

Job losses have affected the likes of hotels, bars and restaurants, which absorbed the initial job cuts.

However, lay-offs have now spread to white-collar occupations including software programmers and sales staff.

Notable US job announcements in recent days have come from electronics chain Best Buy – which said it will furlough 51,000 employees – and Toast – a software company that works with restaurants and has cut 1,300 jobs, half its total workforce.

The latest figures predict the US, like other major economies, is being tipped into a severe recession by the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

It comes as Donald Trump insists that the number of new cases in the US has passed its peak and stressed his keenness to re-start economic activity, claiming the country will be the “comeback kid”.

In his daily briefing on Thursday, Trump said “the next front in our war – opening up America again”.

He added: “America wants to be open and Americans want to be open.

“A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”

Trump told reporters that healthy citizens will be able to return to work “as conditions allow”.

However, the US president said people would still be expected to maintain social distancing measures and to stay home if they are unwell.

He said that re-opening the US economy would be done “one careful step at a time” but he called on state governors to move “very, very quickly, depending on what they want to do”.

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