As unemployment numbers rise in both the U.S. and around the world, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell shed some grim light on the numbers, stating that a survey conducted by the Fed found that around 40 percent of those who lost their jobs in March were in households making around $40,000 a year.
Powell made the comments during an afternoon webinar on Wednesday for the Peterson Institute for International Economics in a talk discussing how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the economic health of the country.
In the lecture, Powell warned that the “scope and speed” of the economic downturn was “unprecedented” and added that the recession was the worst the country has seen since the second world war.
Worse still, Powell noted that recent data suggested that the pandemic was having a disproportionate effect on those who made less than the average American.
“A Fed survey being released tomorrow reflects findings similar to many others: Among people who were working in February, almost 40% of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March,” he said.
According to data collected in 2018, the median household income in the U.S. is around $63,179, according to The Balance.
The findings come as the country has been rocked with discussion about wealth inequality, brought on by the progressive movement and growing popularity of politicians like Bernie Sanders.
Powell suggested that the coronavirus will only make the disparity of wealth in the country worse.
“The record shows that deeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy. Avoidable household and business insolvencies can weigh on growth for years to come. Long stretches of unemployment can damage or end workers’ careers as their skills lose value and professional networks dry up, and leave families in greater debt,” he noted.
Powell added that the U.S. has already spent around $3 trillion in relief packages to those who are suffering the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown. The entire U.S. budget for 2019 was $4.4 trillion.
According to The Daily Kos, analysts have claimed they estimate an additional 2.7 million Americans will have filed for unemployment over the past week, bringing the total unemployment number to around 36.3 million. This would put the unemployment rate at a staggering 22 percent.
To put that in perspective, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed that the worst unemployment level of the Great Depression was 24.9 percent — less than three percentage points away from the current position today.
Meanwhile, analysts are warning that the worse is yet to come. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, experts have cautioned that a “much more severe” stock market crash is on the way.