6.6 Million More Apply for Unemployment, Bringing Total Initial Claims to Nearly 17 Million

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 9, 2020

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The U.S. Department of Labor said that in the past week 6.6 million more people filed for jobless benefits, far higher than the 203,000 who filed at this same time last year. Added on to last week's revised figure of 6.9 million, and the previous week's figure of 3,3 million, this amounts to nearly 17 million people nationwide losing their jobs in just three weeks. New York state, for its part, saw 345,246 people file initial unemployment claims, atop the 366,595 who filed last week.

The latest figures confirm what people are seeing all around them, or experiencing themselves. A CNBC poll of 800 Americans taken last week found that 10 percent are saying they have lost their job due to the pandemic's economic impact, and a further 16 percent, while technically still employed, have seen their wages or hours reduced. A similar survey from the Financial Times found that 73 percent of Americans have seen their household incomes diminish on account of the virus, 24 percent of whom said the cut has been very severe. The poll found that this seems to be cutting across class lines: 71 percent of those making more than $100,000 answered in the affirmative, as did 74 percent of those making less than $50,000. The government has introduced a number of stimulus measures, including a direct payment of $1,200, but a poll reported on by MarketWatch has found that one in three are saying this payment won't even cover their monthly expenses.

With this in mind, it perhaps should not be surprising that one-third of apartment renters did not pay their April rents: only 69 percent paid anything at all between April 1 and 5, compared to 81 percent a month ago or 82 percent at the same time last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. While the CARES Act contained ways to receive forbearance on mortgage loans, renters themselves were only given protection if their landlord takes one on themselves, in which case they cannot evict anyone during the forbearance period. Commercial rents are in similar shape, according to a poll from the small business social media platform Alignable, which found that about half of U.S. small businesses did not pay their full April rent.

Despite the unemployment figures, stocks seem relatively unfazed so far: CNBC is reporting that the Dow Jones gained 500 points since as of midday, putting it on track for its biggest weekly gain since 1938. Meanwhile, as of midday, the S&P 500 had gained 2.2 percent while the Nasdaq was up 0.7 percent. CNBC said traders seem to be looking past the unemployment figures, toward the recent announcement that the Federal Reserve will providing as much as $2.3 trillion in additional aid.

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