In two to three weeks, even if they decline a few percentage points, the number of unemployment claims filed since March 1 should reach about 50 million, more than 15 percent of the nation’s population of 328.2 million people.
The number for the week ending June 20, after three full months of public shutdown from which the country is just emerging, is 47.7 million, after another 1.48 million people filed for benefits.
Though the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest figure is 3.8-percent less than the previous week’s 1.54 million claims, the grim news means that June’s unemployment figure will likely be at least 12.5 percent, if not 13.
Upshot: The wreckage from the Chinese Virus pandemic and imprudent shutdown of the economy by panicked public officials is far from finished. And that could spell trouble for President Trump come Election Day.
Numbers Steadily Decreasing
Good news is, the number of claims filed each week have been steadily declining since they peaked the week of March 28 at 6.867 million, the Labor Department’s data show.
They dipped below three million the week ending May 9, and then below two million by the end of the month when they hit 1.897 million.
Since then, they’ve declined 22 percent. The decrease since March 28 is 78 percent (numbers below in thousands):
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 — 2,126
May 30 — 1,897
June 6 — 1,566
June 13 — 1,540
June 20 — 1,480
Total: 47.72 million
The department also tracks increases and decreases in claims filed across the states. The states with the largest increase in unemployment claims for the week ending June 13 were:
Oklahoma — 7,254
Texas — 5,047
New Jersey — 3,272
New York — 1,351
The states with the largest decreases were these:
Florida — 24,013
Maryland — 18,188
Massachusetts — 14,731
California — 14,412
Michigan — 6,543
For the week ending June 6, the department reported, 46 states reported more than 11 million claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, while 38 repored 852,000 claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.
Unemployment rates across the states have dropped steadily, and in some cases significantly, since late May. Nevada’s 22.6 percent for the week ending June 6 is down seven percent from 24.3 the week ending May 23. Hawaii’s rate dropped nine, from 20.1 percent to 18.3; while Michigan’s dropped 22 percent, from 21.7 to 16.9.
Nevada — 22.6
Puerto Rico — 20.6
Hawaii — 18.3
New York — 17.8
California — 17.3
Michigan — 16.9
Louisiana — 16.9
Massachusetts — 16.2
The Virgin Island — 16.2
Connecticut — 15.8
As The New American reported in mid June, the economy is in a recession, which begins, the National Bureau of Economic Research explains, “when the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”
Though “expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief. However, the time that it takes for the economy to return to its previous peak level of activity or its previous trend path may be quite extended.”
The economy peaked, NEBR reported, in February after a 128-month expansion, the longest since 1854.
The unemployment rate dropped from 3.7 percent to 3.5 from July 2019 through February. It increased to 4.4 percent in March, hit 14.7 percent in April, then dipped to 13.3 percent in May.
April’s figure was the highest since the end of 1940 when it was 14.6 percent.
Question is, what’s that mean for President Trump’s reelection prospects?
A New York Times/Siena College Poll published today shows presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden 11 points ahead of Trump in major battleground states crucial to a victory for the president.
Biden is 11 points ahead of Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin, 10 in Pennsylvania, nine in North Carolina, seven in Arizona, and six in Florida.
Trump was leading in all those states in 2016.
The Real Clear Politics Average of polling data puts Biden ahead by 10 points.
Then again, voters haven’t seen Biden debate Trump, a major concern for Democrats who wonder whether Biden is sliding into dementia and others who have flatly stated that he is.
Writing for Rasmussen Reports in March, leftist Ted Rall averred that Biden’s cognitive deficit is obvious.
“Democrats are conspiring to gaslight the American people by engineering the election of a man clearly suffering from dementia,” he wrote. He continued,
No one who has been close to someone deteriorating from that disease could fail to see the same signs in Joe Biden.
In online discussions, Biden apologists sometimes say that a senile Biden is better than an evil Trump. Is this really where we are? Congratulations, Democrats, you literally picked the worst of the bunch.
Thus, whatever Trump’s troubles, which include rioting leftists and hostile, dishonest media, Democrats might have another: a senile candidate who can’t withstand the rigors of three debates and a brutal campaign, much less the rigors of the presidency.
Image: KLH49/iStock/Getty Images Plus
R. Cort Kirkwood is a long-time contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.