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Economists at ANZ Bank recap the outlook for the US unemployment rate.

Key quotes

“The St Louis Fed predicts potential job losses of over 46m for 2020. This would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate, which would be the highest ever. Currently, the peak stands at 24.9%, which occurred in 1933 during the Great Depression.” 

“An alternate official estimate by the CBO is far more conservative; it estimates unemployment will exceed 10% in Q2.”

“The Job Quality Index suggests that around 37m American workers are at risk. This represents around 23% of the workforce. On the other hand, a report from the Brookings Institute suggests around 24m workers are at risk, which is over 15% of the workforce. If all of these workers were stood down, the unemployment rate would rise to roughly 27% (Job Quality Index) and 19% (Brookings Institute).”

“The COVID-19 shock could result in the pool of unemployed rising by 25m. This would result in the unemployment rate rising to just under 20% in Q2.”