Fed economists estimate unemployment rate could hit 32 percent

Tim O'Donnell

Economists at the Federal Reserve's St. Louis District are now projecting the unemployment rate in the United States could hit 32.1 percent, placing 47 million people out of work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC reports.

That estimate is up from the 30 percent figure previously publicized by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard. In a research paper published last week, St. Louis Fed economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro said "these are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years."

The numbers presented by the economists may be an overestimate, though, because they don't account for people who may drop out of the workforce altogether or for the possible effects of Congress' stimulus package. Still, the numbers would likely top the unemployment peak during the Great Depression.



The outlook is bleak, but Bullard previously issued some reassuring words, arguing that this moment in history won't necessarily mirror the depression, in terms of length. If the U.S. is able to mitigate the pandemic, people will have the chance to get back to work before too long. Read more at CNBC.

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