LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Last week millions of Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the novel coronavirus pandemic continued to affect businesses across the nation. Here in Little Rock, Dr.Michael Pakko, the state’s economic forecaster, has been looking closely at the possible economic impact this could bring to the state.
Dr. Michael Pakko is Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Pakko says the nation’s employment rate could approach 13 percent by May — and could very well surpass the highest jobless rate of 10 percent that was set during The Great Recession that ended in 2009. For now, he recommends people pay close attention to what is happening because every day brings new change.
“A lot of employers are trying to make accommodations – help the people get unemployment and promise jobs when this is all over. Again, that’s a great sentiment but at least for the short run we’re going to see a lot more joblessness,” says Pakko.
Pakko adds Arkansas wasn’t even hit the hardest in comparison to other states. He says Arkansas is ranked number 40 out of all 50 states as being hit the hardest by unemployment. He recommends people stay vigilant but patient – as the nation prepares for what is next when dealing with the current crisis.
“Looking out as a community this is really a crisis that’s hitting all of us,” says Pakko. “We all have to do our part I think to help out our neighbors and we might see more public-spiritedness and neighborliness than we have in other times in the past – sometimes a crisis can help bring people together.”
Recently, people were unable to file for unemployment aid because the state’s websites had crashed from the sheer volume of applications.
To learn more about Dr. Pakko’s economic evaluations, click here.
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