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Jobless claims hit 17 million, with many unable to file due to crashing websites and busy signals


photo courtesy of kzd via

The NYT reports that the stock market has responded to the news that the jobless rate has risen by 6.6 million in the past week.  Other reports say that many who lost work are unable to file because they couldn’t get through on the web site or were forced to dial up repeatedly by busy signals.  Some were compelled to physically go to unemployment offices, and Florida has begun handing out paper claims.  Once a person has filed (which takes 20 to 30 minutes on the web site) it takes two to four weeks to begin receiving benefits, which are less than half of an employee’s previous wages.  The federal stimulus package (the third) offers an additional $600 a week to jobless benefits.

Meanwhile, the Fed reports that it will start buying “junk bonds”.  These bonds are high-risk and high-profit for investors when they come through.  It is unclear how this will benefit the average worker fired through the lockdown, who has no stake in the junk bond market.

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