The Covid-19 crisis is far from over and the U.S. economy continues to suffer, with 16.3 million Americans still unemployed due to lack of job opportunities. Many are now asking if the U.S. economy is already in a state of recession or depression.

While around 8.4 million have found part-time work, the economic conditions are not getting better especially for the underprivileged who are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

While the economic downturn has now lasted for two consecutive quarters, it can now be said that the U.S. has already entered a period of depression. Even the numbers of unemployed individuals have reached levels that were seen only during the Great Depression of the “Roaring 20s”. At the rate that the economic downturns have been going, the U.S. economy shrunk by as much as 32% when it entered the second quarter of 2020.


Job Surge in the First Three Months Only Gave False Hopes

While Trump lied to the American people about the novel coronavirus so as to avoid disruptions that would cause the economy to collapse, he was unable to avoid calls for lockdown. However, after the 3-month cessation of nonessential business operations, Trump only made matters worse when he ordered the premature reopening of businesses.

Although the first 3 months of 2020 resulted in increased job opportunities, they only gave American citizens false hopes because Trump already knew that the coronavirus was not going away any time soon. What he wanted was for the American people to just grin and bear the effects of the pandemic in order to keep the U.S. economy afloat. Yet even as businesses reopened amidst the ongoing health crisis, the second set of 3 months that followed saw applications for unemployment benefits reaching millions for 20 consecutive weeks.

During the lockdown period and for a while after the premature reopening, consumer spending rose by 8.5 percent and 5.6 percent in May and June, respectively. The Department of Commerce touted them as gains, but were actually still 4.8 below the levels of consumer spending before the pandemic occurred. The increases were not actually enough to make up for the losses incurred by businesses when consumer spending declined by 6.7 and 12.9 percent in March and April, respectively.

The Department of Commerce should realize that the majority of the consumers in the U.S. cannot afford to spend more than what they receive from unemployment insurance; plus the $600 monthly paycheck provided as economic relief by the CARES ACT. Many were actually stretching each dollar by using every discount coupon they can find; or purchase only from food outlets that offer freebies in exchange for answering survey questionnaires.

Even more so now that the $600 paychecks have stopped arriving, while the debate over how much and what will be provided as a second round of economic relief is still ongoing. While the Democratic Party will not accept anything less than the original $600 stimulus check, the Republicans insist on bringing down the amount to $300.

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