With more that 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefit this week this brings the total number of Americans who have lost their jobs in recent weeks to 17 million. Janet Yellen predicts that the unemployment rate will be greater than that during the Great Depression. However unlike the 1930’s the underlying economy is in much better shape and the current downturn is health driven.
Congress passed a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill at the end of March that extends unemployment benefits to more workers and provides loans for small businesses to keep their employees on payroll. Most Americans will receive a direct payment of $1,200 from the stimulus, as well. Lawmakers are pushing to pass another spending package to provide additional funding to small businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments, in particular.
Below is the interview with Janet Yellen on today’s PBS News.