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U.S. Unemployment May Rise to 50 Million People, and 1.6 Billion Globally?

April 30, 2020 (EIRNS)—A report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) April 29 claims that U.S. unemployment has increased since the beginning of March, not by 31 million or so as new unemployment claims indicate (including 3.89 million in April’s final week, reported today), but by 40 million or more. This rough guess is based on an online poll with about 25,000 responses. EPI reports that this poll indicates at least 9 million newly (March-April) unemployed Americans have been unable to file unemployment claims because of the overwhelmed and dysfunctional state websites and call centers, or have not even tried to file because of the same problems.

The March-April 40 million by itself would be 24% of the labor force. The poll was not limited to the labor force, however, but simply to adults 18 or over. Of them, 9.4% said they had filed for unemployment in March or April; 3.4%, that they had tried unsuccessfully to do so; and 1.9%, that they had lost employment but had not tried to file. That total of about 15% of the adult population would, again, be roughly 40 million people.

If true, since this was a period in which very few Americans were rehired, the real unemployment of well over 10 million in February could still be assumed, giving a total number of 50 million Americans unemployed—30% of the labor force.

Worldwide, the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) says some 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, representing roughly half of the global labor force of 3.3 billion, have lost or are in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods, due to the coronavirus pandemic. It says, “Wages of the world’s 2 billion informal workers plunged by an estimated global average of 60% in the first month that the crisis unfolded in each region,” and that will now get worse. “Informal economy” workers in total are 62% of the global labor force, according to this report.

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