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Unemployment Soars for April; Father Speaks after Arrests in Son's Murder. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 8, 2020 - 08:30   ET



KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Driving up with the sun, he said he wanted to talk in support of the L.A. regional food bank, but only if we didn't use his name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's difficult for a lot of us to try and provide for our families and, you know, still maintain some dignity and so on. You know, once you realize you're not going back to work for a while, it's pretty heartbreaking.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Glendale, California.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news at this hour, the worst jobs report in American history is in.

Let's go straight to CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans, who has those breaking details and the numbers.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Twenty and a half million jobs lost in the month of April. That is a record-setting month in terms of the American labor market, 14.7 percent is the official unemployment rate here. These are depression level numbers.

In 1940, you saw the unemployment rate at 14.6 percent. So this takes us back all the way back to those terrible days of the Great Recession when you saw for a whole year 14.6 percent unemployment back then.

These are the kinds of numbers that you would expect when you send everybody home to fight the coronavirus. So we have put the economy on purpose into a big recession. Every one of these jobs here just a tragedy.

HILL: It really is.

And as we go through these, we're going to bring in as well CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley, CNN White House correspondent, John Harwood. As we're looking at these numbers, Julia, the -- this is just years upon years of job growth that has been obliterated in the blink of an eye.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely is. We've gone from a 50-year low in unemployment to a 70 to 80-year high. This report says that we literally don't have a comparison in the data that we've collected here and we've done it in the space of two months.

I'm just looking now through some of the figures that we're seeing in terms of what kind of metrics of jobs that have been lost. And just to break it down in terms of demographics, we've now got 32 percent of teenagers unemployed. A 16.7 percent unemployment rate for black people in this country, just under 19 percent for Hispanics. We know that what we saw in the last month and what we've seen in this month as well is the lowest earners seeing their wages lost, the restaurant, the hospitality, the leisure industry in particular.

The one thing that I think I would point out of these numbers, just as I'm looking through them, is that they're talking about a ten-fold increase in April in temporary job losses. And that brings me back to the idea of how quickly we can add these jobs back. What we don't want to see is the temporary turn into permanent. And this kind of rise is painful. It is temporary at least means perhaps we can add those back quickly.

HILL: And that is the hope, right, that they come back. But all of that, of course, is tied to how the country reopens. It's tied to the confidence that people have to go out and support these businesses.


HILL: And, of course, John Harwood, this is the big debate within the White House as states are waiting for some of that guidance to figure out how to do it safely so more people can go to work and more people have a paycheck to then support other businesses.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And Julia made the right point, the question is, how much of this is temporary, how much of it is permanent. The longer this crisis goes on, the more businesses fail, the more connections get broken between businesses and consumers, between businesses and their employees. This is why the Congress and the administration properly forked out a huge amount of money, $3 trillion, to try to create a bridge of cash to get the economy to the other side of the coronavirus.

This is a -- an underscoring, though, of why we need to get control of the coronavirus in order to restart the economy. Unless you have confidence, as we talked about at the top of the hour, unless you have confidence, unless workers and consumers have confidence in going out, we're going to see these job dislocations continue.

But these numbers, which are not surprising, are a moment for everyone to reflect on the magnitude of the suffering that this situation has created and also the urgency about finding a way to get us out of it. HILL: And, Christine, when we look at these numbers, 20.5 million jobs

lost in April, it's important to point out, those are jobs lost. That does not include workers who have been furloughed. It does not include people who may have seen their hours cut or have taken a pay cut. All of that has an impact as well.

ROMANS: Yes, and I'm seeing the job loss sort of across the spectrum. I mean hospitality, another seven or eight million jobs there. Health services lost 2.5 million jobs. Food and drinking, 5.5, business information, you know, office jobs, 2 million there. And 6.5 million people left the labor force.

You have a labor force now that is the smallest it's been as a share of the population since 1973.


So there's a big structural shift, I think, happening.

And families have been confronted with something they haven't seen before. They're taking care of their parents. They're taking care of their kids. They're -- they're educating their kids at home. And at the same time they're being told to stay home.

So I think you're going to see some real big, seismic moves in who's in the workforce over the next few months as people are trying to take care of their families here too.

HILL: And how could that potentially then, Christine, to that point, as we see this shift in who's actually in the workforce, how could that impact the recovery and jobs and workers coming back?

ROMANS: I just don't know what this recovery is going to look like. You know, the president is promising a v-shaped recovery. He says the economy is going to be raging into next year. But there are so many unanswered questions and so many anxieties for these workers and these families who have to figure out a health situation, an education situation, and their job situation all at the same time. I don't think that there's a playbook that tells us how that will play out.

HILL: And in terms of sectors, as, you know, you touched on a couple of sectors there, Christine, and, Julia, you were talking about what we were seeing in terms of demographics. But in terms of which sectors could potentially start to recover first, one would imagine that, you know, travel and hospitality, those could be at the -- at the bottom there. Is it mostly retail and restaurants that we will be looking at in terms of leading this recovery? Where do those jobs come from?

CHATTERLEY: I think all of this is going to be staggered. We know it. If you have to think about what the new normal looks like, think of it in terms of physical distancing. So, construction, perhaps, manufacturing, where you can maintain some distance. To your point as well, I mean, 70 percent of this economy is consumer spending. We go out. We do things. And I think people are desperate to get back to some kind of normality. So, yes, you'd expect to see some kind of income coming in, in

restaurants and things. But, of course, life's going to be very different, I think, for a long time. We're going to have to watch caseloads in particular too.

But key to getting these jobs back is the support metrics, as John mentioned, the PPE, the lending programs, small businesses are half of employment in this country. What shape are they in? Are they going to do what was promised here and use this money to hire workers again? The deadline for hiring workers is the end of June.

So we've got a situation where people are earning on average perhaps more on benefits than they were working, particularly in some of these industries, like hospitality. So there's a lot of things over the next couple of months that I think that are going to blur the numbers and it's a watch this space and wait and see game.

HILL: You know, the governor of Rhode Island bringing up that very concern, saying that she was a little frustrated. And that if your employer is reopening, I encourage you to work with your employer to get your job back, to not simply depend on these benefits.

Real quickly, John Harwood, there's also this forecast from the Congressional Budget Office that says, you know, we could be at 9.5 percent in unemployment, which, you know, is high, but sounds a heck of a lot better than 14.7, but by the end of next year. That is still a far, far way away.

HARWOOD: Yes, and I think that illustrates, Erica, that the idea of a very quick "v" recovery is not likely to be in the cards. We're hoping to make it as much of a "v" as we can, but there's going to be a lot of dislocation.

You mentioned retail earlier. A lot of retail, we've seen what's happened with Neiman Marcus and J. Crew in the last couple days. A lot of brick and mortar retailers simply not going to come back. That doesn't mean that retail sales won't take place, but they're going to take place in a different forum and how the economy can adapt to those changes that are produced post coronavirus is going to be a key part of the recovery.

HILL: John, Julia, Christine, thank you all very much. Appreciate it.

Well, there are so many developments on the pandemic and also on the economic crisis. Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 9:00 a.m. ET, Georgia Bureau of Investigation update.

11:30 a.m. ET, WWI Memorial wreath laying.

12:30 p.m. ET, White House press briefing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: New video overnight showing the arrest of two men charged with the murder of an unarmed black man in Georgia. The victim's father joins us in his first live interview, next.



HILL: For nearly ten years Grand Champion Pit Master Stan Hays and his non-profit Operation BBQ Relief have provided free barbecue meals to communities hit by natural disasters. Now, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the CNN Hero is finding new ways to help even more people.


STAN HAYS, OPERATION BBQ RELIEF: Our model was based on scale and bringing together a large number of volunteers. To be able to push those meals out.

With Covid-19, we have actually had to rethink how we do things.

We find restaurants that have closed, pay them to reopen, and bring back employees and put 2,500 meals a day back into the community. Meals, creating jobs and helping businesses, it's a triple win. Together we're just feeding more people.


HILL: Triple win.

For more on what Stan Hays is doing and how you can get involved, log on to

New video overnight showing the arrest of two men charged with the murder of an unarmed black man in Georgia. The victim's father joins us live in his first interview, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, a father and son have been charged with murder for the shooting death of an unarmed man, Ahmaud Arbery, while he was apparently on a jog in Georgia. This is new video you're looking at right now of authorities taking the two men into custody just hours before what would have been Ahmaud's 26th birthday.

Joining us now is Ahmaud's father, Marcus Arbery Sr., and family attorney Benjamin Crump.

Mr. Arbery, first of all, I know it's been ten weeks, but I'm sure that doesn't make it any easier. Let me just say, we are so sorry for the loss of your son. And I want to know your reaction to the fact that these two men have been taken into custody and charged in his death.

MARCUS ARBERY SR., FATHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: Yes, sir. I just -- I just want justice for my son and I just want them to pay the price for the -- their crime they did.


BERMAN: The news that they were taken into custody after ten weeks, how did you feel when you heard that news?

ARBERY: It took a lot of release off our family because we just was devastated. (INAUDIBLE) and do (INAUDIBLE) lynching -- lynching mob that killed a young man and they were still walking around here free. It was just devastating our family.

BERMAN: You just used the word "lynching." You have called this a modern day lynching. What do you mean by that?

ARBERY: Because it's -- it's-- it's a -- it's a clear sign of lynching. Anytime you perused a young man, you go jump in a truck with shotguns and a pistol and jump in the truck and you go -- jump on the back of the truck and follow him and slaughter him like that, that's lynching.

BERMAN: Counselor, this video that was released that shows Ahmaud parentally jogging through this neighborhood, our Martin Savidge has reported this was in police hands in the days after the incident, yet it has taken ten weeks basically to press charges.

What do you think has taken so long?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR ARBERY FAMILY: Well, I believe it wasn't because they saw the video that they arrested this murderous duo, because they had the video day one. It is because we saw the video and we demanded justice for this modern day lynching in 2020 that the judge of Bureau of Investigations finally arrested these killers so they would not continue to sleep in their beds every night peacefully.

BERMAN: What does it tell you, though, that they had this video and didn't press charges?

CRUMP: It tells you that we have two justice systems in America. One for black America and one for white America. And until we can become the United States of America where we respect everybody's life, where Ahmaud Arbery could get this same justice as if the roles were reversed and it was him and his father in a truck with a shotgun and a .357 magnum and killed Greg McMichael's son in broad daylight because we know without a shadow of a doubt they would have been arrested on day one. And so we want the same justice for Ahmaud Arbery. America, it is 2020, not 1920.

BERMAN: Counselor, Ahmaud's mother said that she had originally been told that her son was shot by a homeowner in the midst of a burglary. Now, there's no evidence of that. And, to be clear, you know, we and "USA Today" have called the neighborhood. There were no evidence of burglaries having been reported in the neighborhood in the weeks before that at all.

But what does it tell you that that is what she was told by the police?

CRUMP: It tells you that the police have a relationship apparently with Greg McMichaels, who is a former police officer and detective with the D.A. for 30 years, and that we don't trust anybody in that Southeaston (ph) legal community because they have a bias toward McMichaels. Any police officer doing their job would have arrested them because he had no burglary tools, no burglary bag, no burglary mask. He had a t-shirt and shorts on. So either they were incompetent or it was intentional. And the Georgia Bureau of Investigations should investigate these police officers and the sheriff's department who signed off letting these murderers go home and sleep in their bed at night after they executed this young man and they had the video.

BERMAN: And, again, just to be clear, to tell you what Benjamin Crump is speaking about, two district attorneys had to recuse themselves from this case because they had previously worked with the father.

Mr. Arbery, back to you.

I just want to know, how is your family doing this morning?

ARBERY: They are -- they're still torn up, but they're just trying to hold on the best they can. It really hurts because today he would have been 26 years old. And so they're really hurting (INAUDIBLE) because we -- me and his mother, we celebrate all our children's birthdays. You know, they're grown up. We -- we always have (INAUDIBLE) something, you know, for their birthday. We don't miss their birthdays, me and her. So it's really devastating. You know, saying that he's not -- no longer with us today on account of a senseless murder or racial profiling this young man that took his life because of his skin color. It's just something could have been avoided.

He didn't deserve that because he was a very good young man. I can truly say that from the bottom of my heart. And everybody that knows him, knows his heart. He -- they had to bother him because he wasn't the kind of young man to bother anybody. He loved everybody. But that's how our children have been raised. We -- I didn't raise them to hate. And everybody that knows me, they know I was raised too and I was in this community.

BERMAN: He would have been 26 today. Tell us more about your son.

ARBERY: Well, he was the type of young man that he had -- if he had (INAUDIBLE), he gave it. That's how he was. His heart was always in the right place. And he just loved people.

I used to have to get on to him, he'd work for his check and he needed his whole check. It was $300. He'd give it to you. And I used to tell him, I said, son, you work hard for your money. Now, don't just give all your money away like that. Save some of your money for yourself. He used to laugh. He'd just say, dad, well, they need it. That's just the kind of young man he was, you know? He just -- his heart was just bigger than life. BERMAN: Mr. Arbery, we really are sorry for your loss today. I know this has been weeks in the coming for you. We appreciate you being with us today.

Counselor Benjamin Crump, we appreciate you being with us as well.

We have some live pictures from Georgia where we will be hearing shortly from law enforcement about this case. So we're standing by for that.

Our thanks to both of you.

CRUMP: Thank you.

BERMAN: CNN's coverage continues right after this.