Millions of Americans across the country have lost their jobs or have seen their wages, hours, or salaries cut, but according to the Federal Reserve, the worst is still on the horizon.
According to MSN, economists at the Fed’s St. Louis district estimate 47 million citizens could lose their job, which would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate, according to a recent analysis. St. Louis Fed economist Miquel Faria-e-Castro, said the coronavirus outbreak has led to an unprecedented situation.
“These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years,” Faria-e-Castro wrote in a research paper posted last week.
The paper doesn’t account for workers who may drop out of the labor force and the impact of the government stimulus bill, which will extend unemployment benefits and subsidize companies for not cutting staff and extending benefits.
Still, the outlook is grim.
A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the week that ended March 21 and economists expect another 2.65 million to file this week. Additionally, Faria-e-Castro’s estimations show 66.8 million workers are employed in “occupations with high risk of layoff,” including sales, production, food preparation and services.
Other research shows 27.3 million people work in “high contact-intensive” jobs such as barbers and stylists, airline attendants, and food and beverage service. The paper then took an average of workers in those fields and estimated a job loss of 47 million jobs.
That combined with unemployment numbers before the outbreak would bring the total number of unemployed Americans to 52.8 million, more than three times worse than the Great Depression. The percentage of unemployed, 32%, would also break the Great Depression’s 24.9% unemployment rate.
However, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC the number of jobs lost “will be unparalleled, but don’t get discouraged. This is a special quarter, and once the virus goes away and if we play our cards right and keep everything intact, then everyone will go back to work and everything will be fine.”
The coronavirus outbreak has already affected low-wage workers and white-collar workers are beginning to feel the impact. However, supermarkets are looking for more workers every day, but those jobs come with the risk of interacting with people in a time where social distancing is paramount.