Unemployment Hits A Record High

Unsplash/Andrik Langfield

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In the latest payroll report from the Department of Labor, 20.5M jobs were lost during April and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. *Pours one out for America*

Big tree fall hard

The worst part about the job losses? Well, aside from the literal fact that people are out of work… it’s that ten years of US job growth was wiped out in one month. Holy. F*ck. Leisure and hospitality were the two industries hit the hardest, while women, college dropouts, and Hispanics saw the largest losses among individual groups.

These losses are truly historic. And not in a good way (think: Hindenburg… or Antietam). Let’s put it in perspective…

First, let’s remember that unemployment was at just 3.5% (the good kind of record) in February of 2020.

The 10.3 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate from March to April represents the largest monthly jump since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) started keeping score in 1948. The last time things were worse? The Great Depression (ever heard of it?). BLS estimates the unemployment rate hit 24.9% in 1933.

Comin’ out of my cage

Despite the terrible job numbers, stock markets rose on Friday. Why? Because (believe it or not) 14.7% unemployment wasn’t as bad as the 16% expected.

Investors seem to be focusing on the bright side (read: the economy reopening, COVID vaccines)… and all that sweet, sweet stimulus money. The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq gained 1.9%, 1.6%, and 1.5%, respectively, good for the first weekly gain by all indices in the last three weeks.

Cooler Commentary

As businesses begin to open back up, the hope is that furloughed employees start coming back to work as well. In fact, 88% of the newly unemployed declared their layoff was temporary during April (read: they were furloughed… and are wishful thinkers). But they may want to think twice before heading back to the salt mines…

Turns out some workers are actually getting paid more via increased unemployment benefits than they were at their jobs prior to the CARES Act being implemented. Maybe the joke’s on everyone who still has a job (spoiler: it’s not).

Water Cooler Talking Point(s)

💧 “Bro, this is bullshit!” – Chad, an analyst making $160k (Ian, The Water Coolest HQ)


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The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.