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30 Million Unemployment Claims in U.S. And We’re Headed For the Greater Depression

April 30th, 2020

We did it. We hit 30 million unemployment claims, the last 12%+ coming in just the last week.

According to articles all over the internet this morning (it’s only 7:11 am where I am, and this is all over) we could see a 20% unemployment rate. Here’s the scary quote:

“That would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the Great Depression.”

NO ONE is protected. All over Twitter I’m seeing highly technical and, from just a couple months ago, highly in-demand talent announcing they got laid off. I’m talking about six-figure programmers (and all things IT). This morning I read┬áthe U.S. is (or should) prepare for another round of mass layoffs. That could push us past the historic, devastating Great Depression.

My friend and one of the greatest thinkers in this space wrote this must-read article: The New Job Market: COVID-19 complications. He hits all the nails on the head and comes at this with a very analytical approach. One of his commentors (ORALLOY) laments:

“The current situation is a killer blow to those (like myself) who were unemployed before. I was competing in an already very hard labor market, and now I am going against many people who had jobs. This kills any hope I had at getting a professional job. And all the suggestions from this site and others did not work for me. This is end times.”

There is mass argument, seemingly aligned with political parties, about what should have been done, and what should be done now. People are demanding to get their “hair done,” even as reports of new cases and deaths increase (or not decrease). Beaches are opening and some people go, finally, to get back to normalcy, while others are wearing face masks and pounding on the keyboard talking about how they are all idiots and love capitalism over lives.

Indeed, some political and business leaders have sound clips where they make justifications about opening businesses back up, even if it means more people will die. We all make sacrifices, right?

What is right? Should we stay shut down?

I read a post on LinkedIn (can’t find the link now) that said the deaths from suicides and non-medical issues related to corona (but related to this economy, like domestic violence) are 140% of the Corona disease deaths. That is staggering.

So should we open the country and get back to normal so suicides and domestic murders decrease? Could that cause a spike in this seemingly unknown and highly debated disease?

I’m reading commentary from very smart people that support either side. There is some civil conversation but this debating has become as passionate as any of the fiercest religious or political fights.

I read an article about, if I remember correctly, a dad who argued with his teen son about quarantine, and eventually shot him in the chest because the teen was going out. I can’t find it now but please don’t look for “father kills son quarantine” on Google… there are too many yucky stories that pop up.

Was someone praying for unprecedented times? Because, yeah, we are here now.

With all of the fighting and arguing and turmoil and wondering, and can we not forgot that actual humans are dying, which impacts many, many families, we still have bills to pay.

People paying mortgages are kind of seemingly given a┬ábreak… but that’s just a pause, not a forgiveness. People paying rent are trying to figure out if they can not pay rent for three months, and if they don’t, what happens in three months. The U.S. government is coming in like a knight to save the damsel, throwing money around like the monopoly money printer is running non-stop… the numbers are big (in the trillions) but individuals are getting a fraction of what they spend. Everyone is arguing about huge businesses getting bailout and small businesses getting the shaft.

And then dump 30 million people into unemployment, forced to sit at home, with no prospects for new jobs because not only are most companies not hiring, many companies are simply shutting down.

DOOM AND GLOOM

Early in my marriage someone made a comment like this:

“You can do nothing this year, and in a year you’ll be in the same place. Or, you can work on your entrepreneurial business (or education, or skills, or whatever) and in a year you might be in the same place with your job, but your skills and marketability will be way further ahead.”

They said it more eloquently than that… it’s been almost 25 years since I heard it. But that’s the message.

I’ve been inviting, asking, and almost begging people to take advantage of the #FREEapril on Pluralsight. I don’t much care whether you watch my professional development courses, or you watch beginner programming courses, or UX courses, or design courses, or project management courses, or business analyst courses… I don’t care. My invitation to you was to do something productive, and learn, and grow, and get hope and inspiration.

Maybe you could come out of this thing a little stronger, a little better, a little more prepared.

If you missed #FREEapril (today is the last day), ask if I have any 30 day passes. I usually do.

If you aren’t into online learning, what are you going to do? Please don’t sit around applying to jobs online on job boards. Tens of millions will be doing that.

Work on your job search. Personally I would network. I created the Job Search Program, which is a program centered around informational interviews, or perhaps I should call it “purposeful networking.”

Or go learn some skills. Ever thought about a career change? Maybe now is the time to seriously dig into that. Get your handyman license, which is a lot easier than getting a general contractor’s license. Learn interior design/decorating, or learn how to do sales.

YUCK. Sales.

When I got laid off in 2006 my younger brother wisely suggested I do real sales for a year, just to get those skills.

There are a bazillion things you can do. My point is that you need to do something. For your own mental sanity, because sitting around and binge watching mindless shows is not good for you. Getting out of a productive routine might seem like a nice break but we are literally going on eight weeks of that, with no end in sight.

Learn. Create. Try.

Have you ever thought about creating other revenue streams, so you aren’t 100% dependent on your job? Well, now is the time. Whether it’s something you (might) love like making crafts and selling them on Etsy or something complex like figuring out rental (I know, weird timing on this, but the learning curve is steep, and so maybe now is the time to learn!) or figure out day trading (I know, this is RISKY)…

What can you do so that if the world shuts down again you don’t have a pile of bills and a mountain of stress?

Take this time to learn how to be more self-sufficient. Dive into Dave Ramsey’s youtube videos and just listen… just learn. Let the ideas of paying off debt and budgeting and living within your means settle in.

Dive into cutting expenses and learning how to fix things on your own, cook healthier meals, maybe even grow a garden or raise chickens for eggs… things those crazy preppers talk about.

Don’t wait for things to get back to normal. The old normal sucked anyway. No one was happy to commute to work, and come home exhausted, living paycheck to paycheck. Now is a great time to reset, and to define your own new normal.

It will take work but the peace that comes with feeling a bit more in control, and not at the mercy of politicians or viruses, is pretty awesome.

It’s not all doom and gloom, is it?

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One response to “30 Million Unemployment Claims in U.S. And We’re Headed For the Greater Depression”

  1. Thea Kelley says:

    “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

    It’s not just the medical professionals and supermarket clerks who are heroes. We all need to be heroes now, in our own ways, however small. We’ve all got some hope, wisdom and strength. Time to use it!

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