Tough numbers: Is staggering unemployment the new normal?

Excerpted from Howard Kurtz | Fox News

We spend a lot of time wondering what post-pandemic America is going to look like.

Can our kids go back to actual classes? How many of us are heading back to the office? How many of us will feel comfortable shopping in malls or dining in restaurants?

The answers are mostly unknowable, at least for now. But what is clear is that the impact of the coronavirus on jobs is agonizing and will last a hell of a lot longer than we might have imagined.

Yesterday’s release of new jobless claims–2.4 million, bringing the total to over 38 million–is the latest shock to the system. And the usual Washington political battle is brewing over extending unemployment benefits.

But the bigger picture is not encouraging. “There is growing concern among economists that many jobs will never come back,” the New York Times says. A Stanford University expert estimates that 42 percent of recent layoffs will result in permanent job losses.

If that’s even close to being true, it’s an obvious calamity for those thrown out of work through no fault of their own. And the ripple effect on the economy will be devastating.

Read the article in full here.