Posted on 2020-05-09
BOSTON (CBS) – These are difficult days for Bob Crocker who has been unemployed since the beginning of March, laid off from his job driving a natural gas tanker for a Lowell company. “It scares me, I’m shaking a little right now with the whole thing going on,” said Crocker.
He’s been forced to dip into retirement savings as it took him weeks to get one unemployment check. A small stimulus check barely covered anything.
“Everything was fine up until this point. I don’t like hitting the retirement account,” he said. “I worked my whole life to retire and I’m worried I’ll end up with nothing.”
The numbers are staggering as the economy shut down. The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7 percent in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression as 20.5 million jobs vanished.
It’s also a sign of the times as just Friday 600 nurses and staff were furloughed in the Cape Cod Healthcare system.
Economists say the only silver lining is that many of the jobs lost are workers who have been temporarily laid off and hope to be recalled. “That suggests that once things open up and re-normalize there will be those jobs to go back to. I think that was one good sign,” said Boston College economist Robert Murphy.
He says that will also depend on consumer confidence and which businesses survive the shutdown. “We usually see when the economy recovers growth picks up, but unemployment will stay elevated for some time,” said Murphy.
Which is Bob Crocker’s biggest fear. He was brought back to work for one week, but after Friday he’ll be laid off and likely file for unemployment again. “I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring,” he said.