The Employment-Population ratio put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is just over 50%. The lowest level on record, at 51.3%, is another indicator of the unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The peak ratio was 61.2% in April 2000.
As businesses close around the United States to avoid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the ratio has been extremely low. The number of Americans that file for unemployment has reduced, with first-time claims for unemployment benefits falling each week. However, 1.5 million Americans still filed for unemployment for the previous week ending June 25.
While claims are still at record highs, the rate and pace of layoffs have slowed. But economists are concerned about the growth and speed of the economy after the pandemic. “Initial and continuing claims point to gradual improvement in the labor market. Falling initial claims signal that the pace of layoffs is slowing, but it still extremely high,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial.
But as states‘ pause reopening plans due to increase case numbers, employees don’t have the opportunity to go back to work. “The danger now is that claims rebound in other states where infections are rising rapidly, and people are starting again to stay away from restaurants and malls,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The long term economic implications are still being considered. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell warned millions may be out of work for months to come, and that the economy still faced “significant uncertainties”.Torsten Sløk, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities told Axios, “To get the employment-to-population ratio back to where it was at its peak in 2000 we need to create 30 million jobs.”
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Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:
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