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Stories from Americans suffering the pandemic’s financial fallout

The loss of jobs caused by the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout is unprecedented in the U.S. Over 10 million Americans became unemployed in the past two weeks alone -- and economists say there are many more who have not yet been counted. The NewsHour continues to share the stories of some of those who have been laid off or furloughed, in their own words.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The White House briefing is still under way at this hour, and we will be talking with Yamiche Alcindor about the latest on masks and any other new guidelines later in the program.

    But, first, despite the pain that U.S. workers are feeling because of the pandemic, Wall Street rallied today, as oil prices jumped 25 percent. This came after President Trump suggested that Saudi Arabia and Russia might back off a price war. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 470 points, to close at 21413. The Nasdaq rose 126 points, and the S&P 500 added 56.

    The scale of job losses today is unprecedented, more than 10 million people in two weeks. And many economists say there are not many more — there are many more yet who are not even being counted.

    We're going to take a deeper look.

    But let's start with voices of some of those who have been laid off or furloughed.

    Here's a small sampling from viewers who got in touch with us.

  • Juliana Edelen:

    My name's Juliana. I'm 24. I live on the East Side of Milwaukee.

    Before all this, I had two different service industry jobs. There was about a week span of time where I was just, like, getting called off of my shifts. Eventually, they did end up closing.

  • Leida Parker Sylvester:

    My name is Leida Parker Sylvester, and I live in Chicago, Illinois.

    I worked for 25 years in the hospitality industry, so hotels, an event planner. So, when this all this mess went down, like late March, we were furloughed.

  • Jason Krajewski:

    My name is Jason Krajewski. I'm from Denver, Colorado.

    And before this COVID-19 began, I was a biomedical designer. And two weeks ago today, I was let go of my position.

  • Adrian Trujillo:

    My name is Adrian Trujillo. I am from Seattle, Washington.

    It sucks to lose a job. You know, I have bills and stuff. So that was a concern, of course. That was the immediate: My God, I don't have a job.

  • Ginger Garner:

    I'm Ginger Garner, I live in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    I am a physical therapist by training. And I am self-employed. So I had just reopened my clinical practice. The decision to close my doors was very difficult, because then that shuts you off from serving those patient populations.

  • Ashley Hernandez:

    My name is Ashley, and I live in New York City.

    The process to get the unemployment application accepted has been very difficult. I was furloughed officially on the 23rd of March, and I still haven't been able to submit my application completely. And I spent hours trying to call the unemployment offices.

    And, so far, after 300-plus calls and hours on the line, I haven't been able to reach a single person on — at the unemployment office.

  • Jason Krajewski:

    I didn't expect this to affect myself. Unfortunately, right now, my wife and I, we're expecting our first child on April 26, as of right now.

    I applied for unemployment — started applying for unemployment anyways, a couple hours after the news that my job was no longer needed at the moment. I still have yet to hear from the state of Colorado with any confirmation.

  • Leida Parker Sylvester:

    I have been looking for other employment, but it has been a struggle too as well, because you have millions of people looking for the minimum amount of jobs that are out there.

  • Ginger Garner:

    I think a lot of small business owners are frankly worried about — if they're like me, I don't know if I will last until July.

    Applying for a loan in regular — in a regular environment is stressful, but doing it in this kind of climate, where you know you might not survive if you don't get it, is really heart-wrenching.

  • Ashley Hernandez:

    I have a son. He's 10 months old. I have to pay for his health insurance, as well as mine, without having a paycheck.

    And we had to take out a loan, just because formula is so expensive. It ended up being $900. But we took out a loan, and we pay it monthly, so that's something else I have to worry about.

  • Juliana Edelen:

    Credit card payments, loan payments are all late. You obviously amass many late fees with those. If this goes on for another month or two, I mean, how am I supposed to really recover from that?

  • Leida Parker Sylvester:

    I have never experienced anything like this. I lived through 9/11 within the hotel industry. So — and we did pretty well recovering.

    But I'm very nervous about this one. I think we, as a country, need to have a conversation of, what are we going to do to help people, help people and make sure that our bills are being paid and that there is income coming in?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The views of just many of our viewers.

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