The fundamental pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency — a hot economy, strong job growth and a rocking stock market — are all being smashed to splinters by the ravaging coronavirus, which has shuttered much of the nation and now officially ended a streak of 113 months of job gains dating back to the end of the Great Recession a decade ago.
The latest numbers out Friday showed a loss of 701,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate rising to 4.4 percent from a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. But the figures, though higher than expected, were just a small taste of the nightmare ahead. Friday’s numbers covered just the first two weeks of March, before many of the lockdowns and layoffs began.
The nation has seen 10 million new jobless claims over just the last two weeks, obliterating previous records and suggesting the unemployment rate is already above 10 percent, eclipsing the highest point of the Great Recession.
It will almost certainly go significantly higher, with some economists warning it could top the 24.9 percent hit during the Great Depression. April’s jobs numbers, due in early May, could show a staggering and historic loss of up to 15 million jobs or perhaps more, many forecasters say.