Jobless Claims in the Millions Due to Coronavirus

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It isn't difficult to get one's head around the fact that, with the global economy coming to a standstill, jobless claims would go through the roof.

Yet the sheer number of jobless claims for the week that ends tomorrow - March 21 - is unprecedented, with much more to come.

Based on both media reports and company announcements, Goldman Sachs economist David Choi believes initial claims for the week ending March 21 jumping to a seasonally adjusted 2.25 million.

In a research note published late on Thursday, Choi said that even the most conservative assumption would be claims reaching over 1 million, which would top the record high of 695,000 set in 1982. 

He also estimated revenue declines in consumer-facing businesses including Casino gambling, sports and entertainment, hotels, public transportation and restaurants dropping anywhere from 75% to 95%.

“Many U.S. states have reported unprecedented surges in jobless claims this week,” Choi wrote. “While it is possible that claims were front-loaded to start off the week - implying a slower pace of claims for the week as a whole - our sample is biased toward states with a larger increase in claims, even the most conservative assumptions suggest that initial jobless claims are likely to total over 1 million.”

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