The good news: If we can survive this, we can survive anything.
The bad news: new unemployment claims soared to 3,283,000, as American workers felt the full impact of the global coronavirus pandemic for the first time.
Just 20 days ago, the U.S. was celebrating a “blockbuster” jobs report that many called the best ever. Unemployment tied a record low of 3.5%, and the economy added 273,000 new jobs, smashing expectations of 175,000.
Even last week, before the impact of coronavirus had fully been measured — since jobless claims are reported the week after they are filed — unemployment claims had risen to only 281,000. This week: 3 million more.
A sobering thought: economists tell us that job losses happen quickly in a downturn, and job gains only happen slowly in a recovery.
But there is also hope on the horizon: the American economy was in such good shape as coronavirus appeared that we will likely have the resources to bounce back, once the disease is contained.
(ii) the $2.2 trillion economic support/sustain/survive package the Senate just passed should help us "pause" and not "cancel"/destroy. (And is also far bigger than what government did during the Great Recession.)
— Diane Lim (@economistmom) March 26, 2020
Humanity has never tried to fight a pandemic like this before. For generations upon generations, human beings simply succumbed to outbreaks and plagues.
We did not know enough about medicine to stop the spread of disease, and we did not have the technology to share information and keep as much of social life intact as possible.
The jobless claims are likely an underestimate, since several states were overwhelmed by requests. And we will likely see more jobs lost before we begin to turn things around.
But it is useful to remember that we can. And the clearest proof is in the very recent past, less than three weeks ago — a reminder of how far we have fallen, but also how high we can climb.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.