During the worst of the Great Recession, US unemployment claims peaked at about 600,000. The previous worst on record was in 1982 with 695,000. Current data is significantly higher, 3,280,000. That’s about 1% of the US population and a larger percentage of the total workforce.
“The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis president, James Bullard, has said he expects unemployment to hit 30% in the second quarter, while Morgan Stanley has estimated that unemployment would average 12.8% over that time period.”
The Great Recession was a financial crisis caused by finances. Finance is something we invented. The coronavirus crisis is biological. Policies and stimulus packages are necessary, but they don’t stop the virus, directly. Also, the virus and unemployment are happening now. Policies and politics take time to actually help people, and frequently ignore the very people who need the most help. The best hope is biological and medical: a cure, treatment, or vaccine. Until then, expect a rough ride and millions of unhappy people.