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The Unemployment Rate Is 15 Percent. Here’s Why the Stock Market Doesn’t Mind.

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The Unemployment Rate Is 15 Percent. Here’s Why the Stock Market Doesn’t Mind.
Photo caption: No society, no jobs, no problem! Photo: Getty Images. Article by Eric Levitz.

Nearly one in five American workers have lost their jobs since mid-March. The official unemployment rate in the United States is now 14.7 percent — the highest since the Great Depression — according to Friday’s jobs report. And that figure does not account for the past two weeks of historic job losses; the actual rate is likely closer to 20 percent by now.

All across the country, small businesses are folding, while others are taking on onerous debts to survive. Although some parts of the country are relaxing stay-at-home orders and social-distancing guidelines, the coronavirus pandemic remains contained. Absent the sudden emergence of a robust testing-and-tracing regime, or effective COVID-19 treatment, or a coronavirus vaccine, the “reopening of the economy” is likely to produce a new wave of infections — and thus, a durable dearth of consumer demand for in-person business and services. […]

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