Coronavirus: Colorado faces a miserable March as unemployment applications shoot up by 1600 percent
President Donald Trump is doing all he can to lift the dropping morale of fellow Americans in the face of the coronavirus attack but his country’s economy is facing a severe economic shock. Days after the president and his top finance official Steven Mnuchin feared recession, Colorado’s labor department website crashed because of an incredible rise in unemployment applications that has been termed “unprecedented” by the officials.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 17, the Centennial State’s labor department said its website had a tough time coping with the demand placed upon it by workers who have recently lost their jobs and went online to submit their applications for unemployment support. The statement also added that the number of jobless people increased from 400 on March 7 to more than 6,800 on March 17. This adds up to a 1,600 percent increase in 10 days. The department said it was responding by “implementing system maintenance” to ensure that the massive demand was being met.
“Even during the Great Recession, we didn't see this surge of applicants in such a short period of time,” Cher Haavind, a spokeswoman for the department, told Denver-based TV station KDVR. “It’s unprecedented.”
The labor department also said in its statement that it was encouraging workers who faced reduction in hours or wages (temporary or permanent) to consider part-time employment in other industries to see a rise in demand for goods or services, like delivery, transportation, healthcare, etc.
“The department plans to work with these industries directly over the coming days to identify opportunities to match workers who are unemployed with hiring employers,” it said.
States like New York, Oregon and Kentucky also face similar crashes
The state of New York also faced a similar website crash on Monday, March 16 and Deanna Cohen, the state labor department’s spokesperson told the New York Times that the spike in volume was comparable to the situation that prevailed post 9/11.
Also in Oregon and Kentucky, there were similar problems because of a sharp rise in the website’s usage, The Register-Guard and WDRB reported, respectively.
The Department of Labor was set to report its weekly unemployment claims data on Thursday (March 19) morning. The development is an indicator of the growing economic turmoil in the world’s biggest power caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Firms are laying off staff members because of the strains their businesses are facing. While the US has seen the death of over 120 people, the toll is approaching 9,000 worldwide.
Kevin Hassett, former chairman of President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN Business that he thinks the job losses in April could be in millions and “one of the biggest negative jobs numbers” ever witnessed.
In response to the emerging crisis in the economic sector, the White House and Congress are in talks for providing a stimulus package worth a trillion. It includes providing checks to US households and cash supply for businesses coping with the shock.