Six months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., what started out as a health crisis has developed into a full-blown economic crisis,1 particularly since state governments began restricting certain business activities.2

When describing the economic impact of the pandemic, much of the attention is on unemployment. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that more than 3.7 million people had filed for initial unemployment claims in the three states of the Third District between the week ending on March 21 and the week ending on August 22, with an average of 162,000 claims per week. The average weekly initial claims for the three states in 2020 prior to mid-March was only 22,000. These numbers are eye-opening, and they signal deeper financial problems.

This article appeared in the Third Quarter 2020 edition of Economic Insights. Download and read the full issue.

1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 24,000 people had died of the virus in the Third District states (Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) by August 18, 2020.

2 Restrictions began on March 24 in Delaware, March 21 in New Jersey, and March 19 in Pennsylvania.