U.S. jobless claims surge to record 6.6 MILLION amid coronavirus lockdown

Andrew Cummings
April 2, 2020

Another week, another economic record shattered as the coronavirus pandemic unleashes unprecedented carnage on the United States economy. The number of deaths reported Wednesday, 1,040, is more than twice the previous US high mark, 504 deaths, registered Tuesday, USA Today reports.

A total of 6.65 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended March 28, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday, as many stores and restaurants were forced to close across the nation to mitigate the outbreak.

Lawmakers are looking to provide relief to laid-off workers with a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest relief bill in recent memory, that President Trump signed last week.

More than 80 per cent of Americans are under some form of lockdown, up from less than 50 per cent a couple of weeks ago, leaving state employment offices overwhelmed by an avalanche of applications.

The deepening economic crisis comes as the number of cases in the United States soars to more than 216,000.

In the prior week, ending March 21, a revised 3.3 million initial claims were filed. In addition to giving adults who earn less than $99,000 annually up to $1,200 cash checks, the bill expanded unemployment benefits.

The latest grim number came ahead of the federal government's monthly jobs report on Friday.

It will however offer a glimpse of the devastation that awaits.

"A rough look at the most affected industries suggests a potential payroll job loss of over 16 million jobs", said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds in NY. "The loss would be enough to boost the unemployment rate from roughly 3.5% to 12.5%, which would be its highest rate since the Great Depression".

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