Last week another 5.2 million Americans filed jobless claims, bringing the total attributed to coronavirus-related shutdowns to 22 million. It was down by more than a million claims from the week before, when 6.6 million claims were processed.
Catching up, the report for the week of April 11, released Thursday, also showed that 12 million people had received jobless payments the week before, ending April 4, a new record high and more than 6 million more payments from the previous week. "It might take until mid-May or longer before we see claims declining" significantly, University of Michigan labor economist Daniil Manaenkov told the Wall Street Journal. "It could take until we see the economy partially reopen."
As Meteor Blades has pointed out the timing of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' surveys, the totals aren't up to the minute, and we're not likely to see a realistic statistics until the whole April report is released on May 8. As he has also pointed out, the strain on states' systems means that not all claims have been processed, and many people who have lost their jobs aren't eligible for don't realize they are and haven't applied.
This wave of job losses is also starting to hit the white-collar professionals like architects and consultants and lawyers and salespeople, even nonessential healthcare professionals who have seen business evaporate. Economists surveyed expect to see from 14.4 to 27.9 million jobs lost in all sectors by June. Some will be furloughed rather than permanently laid off which will help the long-run situation when they can be brought quickly back onto payroll when the emergency is lifted. It's small consolation for where we're all at now.