RALEIGH – The numbers themselves are jaw-dropping. Some 10 million people have filed unemployment claims in the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands right here in North Carolina. Unemployment projections are downright scary, and GDP forecasts from bank analysts are hard to fathom. Yet, it is still difficult to put the size, scope, and immediacy of this self-imposed economic slide in perspective.
It helps, then, to incorporate a visual aspect to the information. A simple chart won’t do, though, because, it’s just too static. The chart below, however, is one in motion, tracking unemployment as a percentage of the U.S. workforce from around 1967 to current day.
You’ll notice spikes around notable recessions; the turbulent 70s and 80s, the Dotcom Bust, the Great Financial Crisis of 2008/9. Then there is the 2020 Epidemic Shutdown Crisis, and you have to see it to believe it.
as % of labor force 2/2 pic.twitter.com/2q2NZB81yX
— 📈 𝙻𝚎𝚗 𝙺𝚒𝚎𝚏𝚎𝚛 📊 (@lenkiefer) April 2, 2020
And this is only the beginning. Policymakers have no exit plans for shutdown guidance. The definition of victory over the coronavirus leaves one to wonder if they won’t leave such restrictions in place indefinitely? There will always be a threat to public health as long as people are free to move and interact.
How much farther straight up will this chart continue to go before this cure kills the patient?