Last week, another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, pushing the total number of job losses since the shutdown began in mid-March close to 50 million workers. The speed and magnitude of job losses are without precedent and are more than double what the U.S. saw during the financial crisis a decade ago.
While it marked the 14th consecutive weekly decline of Americans seeking jobless benefits since claims peaked at the end of March, the unemployment rate remained persistently high in some states.
That's in part because daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. have again started to regularly hit record highs, driven by a spike in California, Texas and Florida. Some states have hit pause on their plans to reopen, while others are reimposing restrictions they had previously lifted.
If the outbreak of the virus continues to intensify, forcing more businesses to shut down again, economists have warned the consequences could be dire.
“I think a second wave would really undermine public confidence and might make for a significantly longer recovery and weaker recovery,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at the end of May.
Here's where unemployment claims have recovered the fastest -- and slowest -- since the start of the crisis, according to new data published by WalletHub.
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
Economists are increasingly warning of a second wave of job losses amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Economics, 6 million jobs are potentially on the line, including higher-paid supervisors in sectors where frontline workers were hit first, like restaurants and hotels. It could also have a ripple effect in industries such as professional services, finance and real estate.
Last week, United Airlines said it may be forced to furlough as many as 36,000 workers, or about 45 percent of its workforce. According to an estimate from the left-leaning think tank the Economic Policy Institute, up to 17.6 million Americans "probably won't return" to their pre-crisis jobs.