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US jobs report for March to highlight devastating economic effect of COVID-19


US jobs report for March to highlight devastating economic effect of COVID-19

us march jobs
Photo:AP/John Minchillo

The US jobs report for March is set to be released today. It will likely display the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US job market following a period of historically low unemployment only a few months prior.

Since the Senate passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package on Wednesday, a record 6.6 million Americans have signed up for unemployment benefits. The bill will expand benefits to 15 million workers in the collapsing transportation, food service and entertainment industries in addition to a $1,200 cash payment for qualifying adults.

Despite the massive surge in joblessness, economists predict the peak will not be felt until the northern summer, with some leading experts projecting an unemployment rate well into the mid-to-late teens and others calling an upper limit of 30%. A total economic contraction of 14% is expected by some firms.

The US government’s economic response to the virus has thus far only been short-term. While the stimulus package covers immediate expenses for mid-to-low-income families, it fails to mitigate the long-term effects of an inevitable recession. Moreover, Republicans in Congress are likely to oppose further assistance to individuals, which could spell a deeper recession—an economic recovery rests on the government’s fiscal policy.

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