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Fri May 29, 2020, 09:14 PM

American ruling class exploits the pandemic to escalate assault on jobs and wages

Another 2.1 million workers in the United States filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the US Labor Department. This brings the total number of workers filing for jobless benefits to 40.8 million in the ten weeks since the pandemic led to the closure of much of the country’s economic activity in mid-March.

This number, which substantially understates the real scale of joblessness, is still a shocking 24.7 percent of the country’s labor force of 164.5 million people. Economists expect that May’s official unemployment rate, which will be released next Friday, will hit 20 percent, up from 14.7 percent in April.

Estimates of the real jobless rate exceed the historic record of 24.9 percent set in 1933 during the depths of the Great Depression. Millions of jobless workers are not counted in the official toll because they are undocumented immigrants, self-employed or so-called gig workers. Others not counted include those working part-time jobs and those who have given up looking for non-existent jobs. In addition, millions are not counted as unemployed because overwhelmed state agencies have not processed their claims, depriving them of any jobless benefits.

Nevertheless, several states have staggering official jobless levels, including Washington (31.2 percent), Nevada (26.7), Florida (25.0), Hawaii (23.4), Michigan (23.1), California (20.6) and New York (19.9).

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/05/29/pers-m29.html

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