As the global coronavirus crisis worsens, markets around the world have been suffering. Along with Bitcoin, stock markets, gold, and just about everything else has been sinking. Figures from the US job market show that the pandemic is having a big effect on the nation’s unemployment figures too.
A recent survey suggests that as many as 14 million American citizens have been laid off thanks to the spread of the coronavirus. With US states only just starting to take action with regards to isolation measures, there is no telling how many more will face the chop in the coming weeks or months.
Coronavirus Layoffs Rising in the US
The survey asked a series of questions to 1,000 US adults over March 18-19. It found that as many as nine percent of working Americans have been laid off. A further quarter of the working population has had hours reduced too.
— SurveyUSA (@surveyusa) March 19, 2020
The percentage of people facing reduced hours represents a doubling in just a week. SurveyUSA conducted a similar study last week.
This week’s survey also found that two percent of workers had been fired as a result of the pandemic and another fifth had been forced to put a business trip on hold. The number of people working from home has ballooned too. A massive 26 percent of the workforce now does some portion of their working week from home. Again, this represents a large increase on last week as well.
Also noteworthy is the fact that more than half (56 percent) of workers are no longer visiting their places of work at all.
SurveyUSA notes that around half of the surveys providing this week’s figures were actually calculated prior to massive closures in the Detroit automobile manufacturing industry. The “Big Three” Detroit firms announced that they would shut down their Michigan assembly lines on Tuesday. [CNBC]
Markets Reel as Bankers Scramble to Address Corona Panic
Around the world, prices have been sliding as panic set in for investors. From around Feb. 20, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Index, and NASDAQ 100 all tanked, as did gold and oil prices. Many have described the global market carnage as the worst weeks of trading since the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies were supposed to avoid such a market downturn. In fact, analysts frequently celebrated Bitcoin as being entirely uncorrelated with other global markets, reasoning that it would serve as an ideal hedge against global uncertainty like that we are seeing today.
That value proposition has understandably come under fire since the cryptocurrency slid in tandem with other markets. However, as BeInCrypto has reported, some have argued that Bitcoin was never meant to thrive during a crisis as severe as a global pandemic.
Instead, it will have a real chance to prove itself as a worthy hedge against central bank policy in the wake of liquidity injections and other extreme measures intended to stimulate new growth. Some analysts are taking the fact that a recent price rally occurred on the same day stimuli were announced as a sign that Bitcoin does indeed function such as a hedge.