The coronavirus’s record-breaking run of bad economic news continues unabated. Thursday’s numbers from the Department of Labor reported that 6.6 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance, roughly the same as last week (which was revised to 6.9 million) and about double the previous week’s tally of 3.3 million.
Add it up, and over the course of three weeks, a total of 16.8 million seasonally adjusted unemployment claims have been filed. If we borrow the math from this Justin Wolfers piece in The New York Times last week, that means somewhere around 15 to 17 percent of the workforce might currently be without a job. (For comparison’s sake, that number was 25 percent at the height of the Great Depression.)
The U.S. has had eight recessions since 1967,