Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Unemployment Hits Highest Levels Since Great Depression

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HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and the measures being taken to flatten the curve of transmission.

Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)

U.S. Unemployment Rate Shoots Up To 14.7% in April — 5/8/20, 8:40 a.m. ET

Unemployment in the United States has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression, a horrifying milestone that may take the country years to recover from.

Some 20.5 million jobs disappeared in the worst monthly loss on record, meaning that nearly all of the job growth since the 2008 recession has been lost in one month.

The new coronavirus has wrought economic devastation with stunning speed, considering the unemployment rate was just 3.5% in February. During the Great Depression, that figure reached nearly 25%.

In New York, the epicenter of the public health crisis, a statewide pause on eviction proceedings was enacted so families struggling the most do not have to pay rent during the crisis. Across the country, Americans have turned to food banks as they go weeks without paychecks.

— Sara Boboltz

New York Extends Ban On Evictions Through August — 5/7/2020, 1:19 p.m. ET

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced some extra protections for renters in his state on Thursday. They include a moratorium on evictions due to nonpayment of rent until Aug. 20, which extends the ban 60 days past its original end date in June. It applies to both residential and commercial tenants.

“People literally are worried about being able to pay rent. You don’t work for two months and that rent bill keeps coming in,” he said at a press conference Thursday.

Cuomo added that he is banning any fees on late rent payments. Additionally, landlords must continue to let tenants dip into their security deposits to pay rent. 

“I hope it gives families a deep breath. Nothing can happen until Aug. 20,” he said, noting they will continue to assess the situation between now and then. 

― Lydia O’Connor

Nearly 3.2 Million More Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week — 5/7/20, 9:02 a.m. ET

Nearly 3.2 million laid-off workers in the U.S. applied for unemployment aid last week, bringing the total number of Americans who have filed unemployment claims since the coronavirus pandemic forced widespread business shutdowns to 33.5 million, The Associated Press reports.  

One in five Americans who had been in the workforce as of February have now been laid off.

The pandemic has caused the country’s worst economic downturn in decades. The Department of Labor’s April jobs report, which will be issued Friday, is expected to be the worst one in 60 years. Economists predict the U.S. unemployment rate will reach at least 16%, the highest since the Great Depression.

In February, the unemployment rate had dropped to 3.5%, a 50-year low.

Read more here.

— Marina Fang

UN Asks For More Money To Help Poor Countries Fight Virus — 5/7/2020, 6:20 a.m. ET

The U.N. has increased the amount of money it’s asking for to fight the pandemic in poorer countries, from $2 billion to $6.7 billion. Humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said that while the peak of the pandemic isn’t expected to hit the world’s poorest countries for another three to six months, there is already evidence of job losses and disruption to food supply.

“Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty,” he warned. “The specter of multiple famines looms.”

Since March 25, the U.N. has raised $1 billion to support efforts across 37 fragile countries, The Associated Press reports.

— Liza Hearon

For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here. 


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