The Pain of Unemployment: It Will Be Deep, But Not for Long
There are two crises in this country right now: a health crisis that has forced everyone into their homes and a financial crisis caused by our inability to move around as we normally would. Over 20 million people in the U.S. became instantly unemployed when it was determined that the only way to defeat this horrific virus was to shut down businesses across the nation. One second a person was gainfully employed, a switch was turned, and then the room went dark on their livelihood.
The financial pain so many families are facing right now is deep.
How deep will the pain cut?
Major institutions are forecasting unemployment rates last seen during the Great Depression. Here are a few projections:
- Goldman Sachs – 15%
- Merrill Lynch – 10.6%
- JP Morgan – 8.5%
- Wells Fargo – 7.3%
How long will the pain last?
As horrific as those numbers are, there is some good news. The pain will be deep, but it won’t last as long as it did after previous crises. Taking the direst projection from Goldman Sachs, we can see that 15% unemployment quickly drops to 6-8% as we head into next year, continues to drop, and then returns to about 4% in 2023.
When we compare that to the length of time it took to get back to work during both the Great Recession (9 years long) and the Great Depression (12 years long), we can see how the current timetable is much more favorable. This is what many of the experts think.
Personally I think we’ll get the steep rebound and return to “normal” levels of unemployment but not hit the super tight level we were at prior to Covid until longer. I think it will be more of a checkmark than the sharp V above. Regardless of your opinion on the timeframe and what is normal the important thing to keep in mind is not to overeact to the unemployment numbers in April. The important data will be where we are in July and August.
It’s devastating to think about how the financial heartache families are going through right now is adding to the uncertainty surrounding their health as well. Hopefully, we will soon have the virus contained and then we will, slowly and safely, return to work.