As coronavirus continues to ravage the American economy, as well as those around the world, there is some good news in with all the bad.
The good news is that the number of new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 5.2 million during the week from April 4 through April 11. While that’s still approximately 25 times more than “normal” pre-pandemic numbers, it is down from the 6.6 million new unemployment claims from the previous week.
During the last four weeks in the US, new unemployment claims have flooded offices as 22 million people have filed for unemployment benefits. This means that over 20% of American workers are currently unemployed.
Can this all be blamed on COVID-19?
While unemployment is at the highest level we’ve seen in our lifetimes, it can’t all be blamed on the coronavirus pandemic.
In February, before lockdown orders were issued, nearly 6 million people were already without jobs. So while the pandemic has forced millions to stay home, some people would have been unemployed even in the absence of a global quarantine.
But the Coronavirus Wrecking Ball Isn’t Done Yet
Experts somewhat agree that the number of people contracting coronavirus has plateaued. This means that the heroic efforts to flatten the curve are no longer necessary as hospitals are not overloaded and have plenty of ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
There will still be many new cases of coronavirus and sadly, more deaths are to come. However, the doomsday predictions were inflated and the situation, for most, is not as grim as once thought.
But for small businesses, the outlook could be even worse.
Many locally owned and operated family businesses will not be able to recover and reopen after the pandemic. The damage has already been done. These chunks of Americana could be gone forever.
Small businesses have been granted loans under the CARES Act and Congress just made a deal on an additional $480 billion package that will provide more funding for small business loans. Lawmakers are attempting to get it passed today after Nancy Pelosi delayed the help.
Will it be enough? Or is the damage already done?