The best job in the United States these days, it seems, is helping the jobless file unemployment claims.
On Thursday, the federal Department of Labor reported yet another unfathomable pile of claims, this one from the week ending May 23: 2.123 million people applied for jobless benefits, a 13.2-percent decline from the previous week’s 2.438 million, but one that brought the number of claims filed since March 1 to more than 40 million.
Claims filed in the week ending on May 16 brought the unemployment rate for that week to 14.5 percent, about what it was at the end of April.
Even after the pandemic had begun, unemployment was still hovering at about 3.6 percent, where it had been since May last year.
In March, it climbed slightly to 4.4 percent, then in April, jumped to 14.7 percent, the highest number since 1940, when it was 14.6 percent.
The first jump came between March 15 and March 20, when claims went from 282,000 to 3.307 million, a 1,072-percent jump.
Claims more than doubled to 6.876 million the following week. Since then, they’ve declined 70 percent, but still haven’t returned to the pre-pandemic days before federal and state officials panicked and shut down the economy.
Result: 12.5 percent of the U.S. population have filed unemployment claims.
March 7 — 211
March 14 — 282
March 21 — 3,307
March 28 — 6,867
April 4 — 6,615
April 11 — 5,237
April 18 — 4,442
April 25 — 3,846
May 2 — 3,176
May 9 — 2,687
May 16 — 2,446
May 23 — 2,123
Total — 41.2 million
The top five states suffering a major increase in claims in the week ending May 16 were these, the department reported:
California — 31,764
Washington — 29,288
New York — 24,543
Florida — 2,322
Michigan — 1,549
Others enjoyed major decreases:
Georgia — 65,041
New Jersey — 27,324
Kentucky — 22,051
Louisiana — 11,580
Pennsylvania — 11,172
Those numbers are fluctuating wildly. While California posted nearly 32,000 new claims for the week of May 9, claims dropped 103,590 the week before. Likewise for Washington. It posted 8,615 for the week ending May 2, and 29,288 for the week ending May 9.
The top 10 unemployment rates for the week ending May 9 range from Washington’s 31.2 percent, a whopping 41-percent increase from the previous week’s 22.1, to Georgia’s 18, which dropped from 18.5.
May 9 May 2
Washington 31.2 22.1
Nevada 26.7 23.5
Florida 25 **
Hawaii 23.4 **
Michigan 23.1 22.6
California 20.6 **
New York 19.9 19.6
Rhode Island 18.8 19.9
Vermont 18.2 18.8
Connecticut 18 19.3
Georgia 18 18.5
**Not on list
The total number of jobless claims filed since March 1, 41.2 million, now exceeds the population of every state, including the populations of New York and Florida combined.
The department will release May’s unemployment rate in the coming week.
Retaliating against the World Health Organization because it downplayed the virus under pressure from China, on Friday President Trump ended U.S. membership in the United Nations subsidiary and cut off more than $400 million in U.S. taxpayer subsidies.
Speaking at a news briefing, Trump said China had “total control” of the communist-led global agency.
On May 18 in a letter to WHO chieftain Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Trump said WHO “ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan,” “has repeatedly made claims about the coronavirus that were either grossly inaccurate or misleading,” and “gratuitously reaffirmed China’s now-debunked claim that the coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans.”
And Ghebreyesus surrendered to China’s pressure to say the virus was not a public-health menace, Trump wrote.
China was well aware how deadly the virus was and repeatedly lied about that fact to the world.
Aside from Trump’s move, two GOP elected officials, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas, have introduced legislation to permit Americans to sue the Chinese Reds for the damage their virus has done.
The communist government, their bill says:
• “ordered the destruction of laboratory samples and research” related to the virus;
• “detained or otherwise silenced researchers, journalists, and citizens who attempted to share information that could have proven unflattering to the response of the Chinese Government” to the outbreak;
• “expelled United States journalists who were covering” the outbreak in China; and,
• “attempted to censor or destroy academic research” into the virus “that might disagree with the official positions of the Chinese Government.”
Beyond the unemployment, thanks to the Red Chinese lies, the virus has infected more than 6.1 million people globally and more than 1.8 million in the United States. Nearly 370,000 have died with the virus worldwide, more than 105,000 of them here.
Image: courtneyk/iStock/Getty Images Plus
R. Cort Kirkwood is a long-time contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.