More than 2 million people are now going into unemployment, yet it is a decline.
To give us some perspective on the new federal unemployment report, NBC 6 spoke to Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick with Bankrate.
NBC 6: Mark, what is your reaction to today’s unemployment update?
Hamrick: It's still a devastatingly large number. Yes, we have been seeing declining numbers of new claims for unemployment benefits for eight weeks now, we're 10 weeks into the economic crisis. But, this is still a number that could be associated with a large city, so we're past the peak of the number of new claims filed, but this is still a massive problem.
NBC 6: Do the numbers speak to the lifting of restrictions?
Hamrick: I think it's going to be slow. Our own Bankrate survey has indicated that only about 42% of Americans said that they would shop less frequently in public than they would before and then the fact that about 4/10 Americans have suffered some economic harm, meaning their ability to spend has been diminished.
NBC 6: Florida unemployment numbers for last week were about 173,000. How does it compare to the rest of the country?
Hamrick: I think the story with Florida right now is that the statistics is still struggling to catch up with the magnitude of the crisis. I think Florida is playing longer to catch up, and that means it's going to take longer for the numbers to reflect the reality of the problem.
NBC 6: So many people live paycheck to paycheck, what is the takeaway?
Hamrick: You know, many people were living paycheck to paycheck before this crisis, and now that those paychecks have ended for maybe one in four American workers. So, number one, seek all the assistance that you can get, including your state unemployment assistance. If you think you're going to fall behind on your rent or mortgage, now is not the time to go AWOL, you need to communicate with the creditors and tell them you’re having a problem. Many systems have been set up to try to accommodate the squeeze that people are experiencing, but you have to communicate to try to work with their creditors to get through to the other side.