News and Commentary

One Graphic Shows How Devastating Unemployment Is In The U.S.
A glass door with red and white "closed" store sign
Karl Tapales via Getty Images

Earlier this week, Ben Riley-Smith of The Telegraph posted a graphic that gives a devastating look at the economic toll the United States has already taken due to nationwide precautions against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The graphic (view below), created by Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac Len Kiefer, uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor of weekly initial jobless claims.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor released its weekly jobs numbers and announced “the highest level” of jobless claims in the history of the country, a stark incline outlined in Keifer’s now-viral graphic.

“After 3.3 million people claimed unemployment two weeks ago, which was by far the largest number ever for the country, another 6.6 million filed for new unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to nearly 10 million in just two weeks,” The Daily Wire outlined Thursday. “The previous high was 695,000 in a week back in 1982.”

Keifer said the expected “weakness” in the U.S. economy due to the shutdown was completely eclipsed by reality.

“[T]the magnitude of the contraction surprised many,” he wrote. “Because the reference week for the employment report was March 8th through March 14th, before the nationwide shutdown took full effect, many were expecting a relatively mild report.”

“Instead, we got a shock,” Keifer continued. “Nonfarm payrolls, which had increased for 113 consecutive months, contracted by 701,000. And the unemployment rate increased from 3.5% in February to 4.4% in March.”

“With weekly initial jobless claims increasing rapidly, with over 10 million claims (on a seasonally adjusted basis) filed after the March reference week, the April report will likely show significant job losses above what we saw in March,” he added. “It’s likely going to be a few tough months ahead.”

Moreover, according to, “Bank of America is forecasting a 35%+ GDP fall for the YEAR, not just Q2. The bank thinks the Coronavirus downturn is so bad that the U.S. economy will shrink 7% in Q1, 30% in Q2, and 1% in Q3, a cumulative 35.55% for the year. The downturn would be the worst to ever strike the US.”

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh noted earlier this week that the economic shutdown will cost lives.

“We simply cannot — with no end in sight — go on like this,” Limbaugh said Wednesday. “We cannot be in the midst of this economy being shut down with no end in sight.”

“Democrats are gonna pitch this as lives versus money, and they’re gonna do their best to make sure this economy stays shut down because that’s the fastest way they think to beating Trump,” he explained. “When in fact it’s lives versus lives. It’s not lives versus money. Money is not an enemy of lives. Money is not an enemy of life. But to the modern-day Democrat Party and media acolytes, it is.”

Limbaugh warned: “The government cannot provide, nor can the government create an economy that was providing anywhere near like the American people were being provided for or like the American people were creating. It just can’t be done.”

Related: Rush Limbaugh: Shutdown Unsustainable; It’s Not ‘Lives Versus Money,’ It’s ‘Lives Versus Lives’

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