A truly shocking number of jobless claims were filed for the week ending March 21st — 3.28 million. That’s the highest on record, dwarfing even the 2008 crisis. While the media hones in on this massive number, we want to help put it in context. That’s why this week, the Big Number from Horizon is 1.6% — the percentage of the total working age population that filed initial claims last week.
This is not to diminish the shock people are feeling as the economy grinds to an abrupt halt — just to offer context that helps you make sense of what’s happening behind the headline. Looking ahead, next week’s number is likely to be equally dismal. Yes, help is on the way. And it can’t come soon enough.