Highest unemployment since the Great Depression

April 16, 2020, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement reacting to the latest initial unemployment claims:

“In the past four weeks, 22 million Americans have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance through their state governments.  When added to the 5.8 million unemployed prior to the health emergency decision to shutter our nation’s economy, it is reasonable to assume that at least 25 million Americans are unemployed, with millions more suffering from pay cuts and missing paychecks due to the self-inflicted business conditions.

“To put 25 million unemployed into perspective, in March 2020, there were 163 million people in the workforce, making the current unemployment rate 15%.  In February of 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent with 159 million Americans employed, the highest number in history.  Now it is reasonable to assume that number may be as low as 130 million, the lowest total since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008.  Twelve years of job gains have likely been thrown away in the well intentioned and successful effort to flatten the virus’ curve.

“However, those who claim that the on-going destruction of the economy and the businesses of those who provide and create jobs in America should continue unabated are dead wrong.  Those states which determine that they are going to move away from the draconian shutdown responses will lead the way in our economic restoration and those which continue to be driven by fear will one-day come out of their basements and discover that Main Street is a ghost town and the jobs they hoped to return to are gone for a decade.

“While this sounds melodramatic, it is not.  Small businesses across America report that they are at the breaking point, with many in areas virtually untouched by the COVID-19 virus. Saving small business is saving the free enterprise system, and saving the free enterprise system is saving our nation from the tyranny of socialism.

“Thank goodness for President Donald Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and reportedly Governors in 20 other states who are working toward re-opening their economies this week.  It is time for a much more targeted, intelligent response to the China-originated COVID-19 virus, one which minimizes the loss of life and accelerates economic restoration.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 1 or at media@limitgov.org.

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