It took nearly four years from the crash of October 1929 for unemployment to peak at 24.9%. The Covid-19 lockdown is on course to wreak as much havoc in two months.
So says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with Pantheon Macroeconomics, who after watching the latest weekly jobless claims numbers roll out on Thursday is now convinced that April's unemployment picture is going to look as bad or worse than the Depression.
An additional 5.245 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week - officially wiping out all the job gains created since the financial crisis - as the U.S. economy continued to reel from the coronavirus outbreak and unprecedented economic shutdown.
Jobless claims were 5.245 million in the week ended April 11, a shocking number though actually less than the 5.803 million in claims expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
The four-week total now stands at nearly 22 million, the highest on record. Continuing jobless claims - a rolling number - came in at 11.9 million claims.
Even with the processing difficulties, analysts and economists still expect to see staggering recorded job losses in April - by some estimates as high as 20 million, which would translate into a jobless rate of somewhere near 15%.
That number will be closely watched when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports April's nonfarm payrolls numbers on May 4.
Catch up on the Latest Videos on TheStreet!
- Thursday Coronavirus Update: Payroll Protection Program Could Hit Its Limit By End of Week
- Jim Cramer's Key to Success During Coronavirus Selloff: Critical Thinking
- Jim Cramer Explains How to Pick Stocks During a Recession
- Jim Cramer: Walmart, Amazon and Costco Are Retail Winners
- Horse Misses the Mark: Top Stories in Sports and Business
- This Day in Sports History: Arthur Ashe Retires
- These Five States Have the Most Affected Small Businesses Due to the Coronavirus
- Coronavirus Scams: What to Know and How to Protect Yourself
- Sallie Krawcheck: During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Should You Lower the Amount Allocated to Your 401k?
- This Kevin O’Leary-Backed New Asset Class Is Luring More Investors During Financial Crisis
- $20,000 Gold Price In a Few Years Is Not Out of the Question
- Jim Cramer's 5 Books to Read During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Retirement Daily: How to Plan for Retirement During the Coronavirus Pandemic