'We want people to stop working': Reporter expresses disappointment that record US jobless numbers aren't higher

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A journalist at the Atlantic lamented that the record number of jobless claims reported this week did not come in at a higher tally.

“It would be better if the 3.3 million initial-claims number were higher,” tweeted Annie Lowrey, a staff writer at the Atlantic. “We want people to stop working to help stem the public-health catastrophe.”

Lowrey added, “We want [Unemployment Insurance] to cover everyone who has lost work.”

The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that claims for unemployment benefits reached 3.3 million last week, as thousands of companies have been forced to lay off employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday’s weekly jobless total was the most since September 1982.

“I’m not cheerleading for unemployment,” Lowrey told the Washington Examiner when contacted about her tweet. “I’m saying that we don’t want people to be left with nothing.”

Lowrey said her point was the government is asking people to stay at home, which for a number of workers means that they’re unable to work. She cited housekeepers as an example.

“We want the UI system cover these people too,” she said.

President Trump has made repeated promises to get the economy back open as early as Easter Sunday, April 12.

“Our country was not mean to be shut down,” Trump said.

At the same time, the president has suggested his political opponents and some members of the national press corps are rooting for the U.S. economy to fail in hopes that such a slide would hurt his reelection chances in November.

“The media would like to see me do poorly in the election,” Trump said during a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. “There are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly. … I think it’s very clear
that there are people in your profession that write fake news.”

Early Thursday, the Senate passed a $2 trillion economic relief bill that is expected to put money in the hands of people affected by the slowed U.S. economy.

In the United States, more than 68,000 people have contracted the coronavirus, and more than 1,000 people have died as of Wednesday. Dozens of states across the country have closed bars, restaurants, and other nonessential businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, leading to mass layoffs and a tanking stock market.

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