DemDaily: The Great Depression of 2020

May 8, 2020

This morning the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report, showing that the US unemployment rate has soared to 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A staggering 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, the largest one-month drop in US history.

The devastating news, reflecting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the country's workforce and economy, is actually worse, as the unemployment rate doesn't depict the entire picture.

Long employment lines across the country, like this one in Miami, increase chances of COVID exposure (

The report counts 23.1 million people as unemployed in April. The government's unemployment rate, however, does not include:
* 2.3 million people who were "marginally attached" to the labor force in that they looked for a job in last 12 months but not the last four weeks.
* 6.9 million people who want a job but haven't searched in the last 12 months.
* 10.9 million people who are working part-time "for economic reasons" or are working reduced hours due to unfavorable business conditions.

That means, altogether, 43.2 million Americans were either out of work or working reduced hours in April.

In April, unemployment rate rose sharply among all major working groups, representing record highs for each series, with the exception of African Americans.

The "worker groups" include: 13.0% for adult men, 15.5% for adult women, 31.9% for teenagers, 14.2% for Whites, 16.7% for African Americans, 14.5% for Asians and 18.9% for Hispanics.

(Bureau of Labor Statistics/CNN Business)

Among major industry sectors, the leisure and hospitality were the hardest hit, plummeting by 7.7 million, or 47%. Almost three-quarters of the decrease occurred in food services and drinking places (-5.5 million), followed by arts, entertainment, and recreation industry (-1.3 million) and the accommodation industry (-839,000).

President Trump, whose delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic has cost thousands of lives, continues to advocate for opening up businesses across the country, downplaying the economic fallout.

On the numbers today, he said," People want to come back...the real people want to come back. I think some people don't want it to come back for political reasons, which is sick. But the people, the real people, the people who want this country to be great, and great again, they want it back."

The New Reality: As of today, there are 1,297,549 confirmed cases of Americans infected by COVID-19, and 76,706 deaths.

Americans deserve better.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN, Johns Hopkins

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