Record 6.6M Americans filed for jobless benefits last week

Andrew Cummings
April 2, 2020

As businesses across the United States continue to shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak, a record number of Americans filed for unemployment.

A total of 181,062 people in the state filed for unemployment insurance during the week that ended March 28, according to a report by the U.S. Labor Department Thursday.

"Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus", the report says. Expect extraordinarily weak economic reports over the next several months.

Bustling cities have been turned into ghost towns, as COVID-19 restrictions have forced shops, restaurants and offices to close, leaving grocery stores and hospitals the lone epicenters of activity.


In the same week of previous year, only 211,000 people requested benefits for the first time.

Even analysts who had expected grim figures were stunned.

"We'll hire a company to scan that paper application in, cause I gotta be as creative as possible because of where we are", Lawson said.

The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April. Also, some types of workers, like people working part-time, don't qualify for unemployment benefit.


That's a more than 50% increase in claims compared to the more than 114,000 claims made for the week ending on March 21, according to Illinois Department of Employment Security data.

All 50 U.S. states reported an increase in unemployment claims, with the biggest spikes in Pennsylvania (up 362,012), OH (up 189,263) and MA (up 141,003). No state reported a decline.

"Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries", the Labor Department wrote.


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