(ConservativePeak.Com)- In case you needed more proof that the economy is struggling right now, all you have to do is look at how many people are jobless.
Claims for unemployment throughout the U.S. hit 3.28 million last week alone, four times the previous high number of 695,000 from October in 1982, according to data released by the Labor Department. Only three weeks ago, there were just more than 200,000 unemployment claims, showing just how quickly this crisis has hit.
Most economists believed the jobless claims would total around 1 million, but what actually happened is truly mind numbing.
In a release, the Department of Labor commented:
“Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts. States continued to cite services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services. Additional industries heavily cited for the increases included the health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries.”
The immense uptick in jobless claims represented a 1500% in just two weeks’ time. The week of March 7 had 211,000 claims, followed by 282,000 for the week of March 14.
Most economists believe the U.S. economy will be headed toward a recession — one that has already begun amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic — with unemployment rates hitting in the double digits. The highest the jobless rate was during the Great Recession was 10%.
This is a main reason why President Donald Trump and his administration have been pushing for a major economic stimulus package that would bring needed support to the American people. That bill has passed the Senate but is waiting approval from the House before Trump can sign it into law.
Among the provisions in the bill are direct checks to millions of Americans, which accounts for $250 billion of the package. Individuals making under a certain income threshold would qualify for $1,200, with married couples who file their taxes jointly would qualify for $2,400. Each child under 17 years of age would qualify for an additional $500 for the family.
The stimulus package also includes an enormous increase in benefits to unemployed workers as well. Those who qualify for unemployment in their state would see an extra $600 per week in benefits in addition to what they already qualify for from their state. Most states dole out unemployment benefits that range from $200 to $500 each week on average, meaning some people could earn more than $1,000 per week with the aid of the stimulus package.
This part of the package would pay unemployed workers this extra $600 per week for four months. In addition, unemployed workers would be eligible for benefits for an extra 13 weeks, which would be covered by this stimulus package. As it stands now, most states provide unemployment benefits for roughly half a year.
As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the stimulus package:
“It has unemployment insurance on steroids. But, and most importantly, the federal government will pay your salary, your full salary for now four month