Pandemic Response Causes Highest Unemployment Since Great Depression

The U.S. unemployment rate may skyrocket to 32.1% in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Previously, the highest rate of unemployment in U.S. history was 24.9%, which occurred in 1933 during the Great Depression.

The figure comes from “back-of-the-envelope” estimates, in which the St. Louis Fed attempted to quantify the financial fallout from social distancing measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the economy crippled, and layoffs ensuing, an unprecedented number of Americans have had their livelihoods suspended, which could cause poverty rates to climb while triggering a subsequent mental health crisis.

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