Restaurants Fueled U.S. Recovery. Now Workers Are Devastated. squib

Angela Weiss/Getty

When the Labor Department reported Thursday that nearly 3.3 million people filed for unemployment for the first time last week, it put numbers behind an unprecedented, deliberate shutdown of America’s economy to rein in the 2019 novel coronavirus.

But one industry was hit harder than most.

“The layoffs in restaurants swamp anything we have ever seen,” said Dean Baker, senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank. “In several large states, restaurants are being forced to shut down. Most are laying off their staff. This is probably two orders of magnitude larger than the worst weeks in the Great Recession.”

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