Unemployment for the month of March is expected to be astronomically high for the United States, and some analysts are predicting the country will experience the highest unemployment in recorded history for 2020.
The COVID-19 crisis has prompted economists at the St. Louis Fed to predict the U.S. will see employment reductions of over 46 million jobs for 2020. That would translate to a 32.1 percent unemployment rate, the highest ever recorded. The second-highest unemployment rate in U.S. history was from the Great Depression era in 1933, with the peak rate for the time period coming at 24.9 percent. 2020 would be nearly eight percentage points higher, with a total of over 52 million unemployed at one time.
Things already started looking bleak during the last weeks of March. A record 3.3 million initial jobless claims were filed at the end of the March 21 week. That record was shattered for the week ending on March 28, which saw 6.6 million jobless claims - totaling almost 10 million in a two-week span.
Economists at the St. Louis Fed aren’t discouraged, however. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he believes the COVID-19 economic crisis is a unique, unprecedented occasion that should reverse itself once the spread of the disease is halted.