The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks, the swiftest, most stunning collapse the U.S. job market has ever witnessed, and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic damage piles up around the world.
The bleak news Thursday — a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims on top of last week's unprecedented 3.3 million — came as the competition for scarce ventilators, masks and other protective gear seemed to grow more desperate and deaths mounted with alarming speed in Italy, Spain and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the nation, with nearly 2,400 lives lost.
The highest unemployment rate in US history was during the Great Depression: 25%. If it does hit that level again, then the total number of unemployed will be 41 million. The middle class will have to sell their equities. The stock market crash will continue. Others will have to sell their homes. The housing crash will begin. Many won't be able to pay their mortgages. Banks will start to fail. So, those who had put away a few bucks will see their savings evaporate. Guns, ammo, and toilet paper will be the new currencies.
The vaccine can't be made soon enough.