Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

Andrew Cummings
May 21, 2020

Another 2.43 million USA workers were put out of work last week amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data Thursday, bringing the total since mid-March to a massive 38.6 million.

The new figures could push the state's total number of initial claims to almost 1.2 million - but they will also add to concerns that the state's unemployment system has been hit by identity thieves looking to siphon off some of the extra jobless benefits offered under the federal government's pandemic-relief measures. The feds also revised the prior week's total down to 2.6 million from about 3 million.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would total 2.4 million in the latest week. The rise in unemployment comes despite the reopening of the economy by an increasing number of states across the country. "This number of new claims alone is about equal to the population of the city of Houston, Texas". Florida had 221,000, California reported 214,000 and NY had roughly 200,000 jobless claims. That two-month total is roughly equivalent to all of the initial claims filed during the Great Recession.

Nevertheless, after hitting a record in the week ending March 28, the weekly initial jobless claims figure has been on a steady decline. Economists were estimating 24.25 million continuing claims for the week. This reading came in slightly worse than the market expectation of 2.4 million.

As of Thursday morning, there were more than 5 million coronavirus cases and 328,500 deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data. In the USA, there were 1.55 million cases and 93,400 deaths.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.

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