New claims for unemployment benefits in the United States are reaching levels not seen in recent history as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some economists project that the United States could receive some 3 million new claims for unemployment benefits when the figures for the week of March 15-21 are released Thursday. That would be about 12 times the total from the previous week.
Just a week ago, David McGraw was cooking daily for hundreds of diners in one of New Orleans’ illustrious restaurants. He is now cooking for himself, at home, after being fired along with hundreds of thousands of people in the United States because of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the economy.
The US Department of Labor figures, to be released Thursday, are expected to break the old record for the largest number of new claims for unemployment benefits filed in a single week. There are more sudden unemployed in the country than during the Great Recession and more than after major natural disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, and floods.
However, McGraw and others like him do not need official figures to understand the new realities of life in one of the epicenters in the United States of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The whole city, goodbye. Everyone, ”says McGraw, with an exaggeration that sometimes doesn’t seem like it. “All of us who worked in a restaurant are fired.”