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U.S. jobless rate to peak at 16 pct in May amid pandemic: study

(Xinhua)    08:35, May 08, 2020

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. unemployment rate is expected to peak at about 16 percent in May as the COVID-19 fallout continues to ripple through the country, according to a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland on Thursday.

"We estimate that the unemployment rate will jump from 4.4 percent in March to 12 percent in April with a further increase in May to about 16 percent," Cleveland Fed economist Murat Tasci and other researchers wrote in the study.

"We expect that the unemployment rate then will start declining as the mitigation efforts begin to subside starting sometime in June. Our estimate for the unemployment rate at the end of the year is 7.5 percent," the researchers said, noting there is "considerable uncertainty" around its estimate and the course of the pandemic.

"While our estimate is the one we judge to be most likely... it is important to remember that our estimate depends on our assumptions that the shock to GDP growth is temporary and that job destruction and job creation will normalize slowly, consistent with typical recessions," the researchers said.

In a more pessimistic scenario and assuming continued recovery of GDP, the unemployment rate is expected to peak at 18 percent in May and end the year at 7.8 percent, the study showed.

The study came as the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that the number of initial jobless claims in the country has surpassed a staggering 33 million in the last seven weeks, indicating the scope of COVID-19's damage to the U.S. labor market.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Tuesday that the unemployment rate could surge to the worst level since the 1940s as the economy is on track to have a sharp contraction in the second quarter caused by the pandemic.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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