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April 30, 2020 25 min

With widespread shelter-in-place orders shutting down major cities and many states, the U.S. economy has come to an abrupt standstill. And after just five weeks, this COVID crisis has forced more than 26 million Americans to file for unemployment. On this episode of Next Question with Katie Couric, Katie talks to Victor Tan Chen, sociology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and author of “Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an Unfair Economy.” Chen explains what makes this unemployment crisis so unprecedented, why it’s underscoring pre-existing inequalities in the labor force and how the pandemic could change the job market — and who it could leave behind. Throughout the episode, we also hear from the people behind the unemployment statistics.

Read the Atlantic article ‘The Second Phase of Unemployment Will Be Harsher,’ by Victor Tan Chen and Ofer Sharone.

Sign up for Katie Couric’s morning newsletter, Wake-Up Call.

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