The record unemployment numbers only hint at the crisis facing many with no work.
The shutdown of much of the service economy—think restaurants, hotels, and retail stores—in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus is sending the US toward a deep recession. It isn’t a question of “if.” It’s a question of how deep it will get, how long it will last, and perhaps most important, who will be hit hardest by this devastating downturn.
This week the Labor Department announced that a jaw-dropping 3.3 million people filed jobless claims; the previous weekly record was 695,000, in 1982. As bad as that number is, though, it greatly understates the crisis, since it doesn’t take into account many part-time, self-employed, and gig workers who are also losing work.