More than 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past week

Andrew Cummings
May 21, 2020

Millions more Americans are expected to have filed for unemployment benefits as the pandemic continues to wreck the economy, with the total number of United States jobless claims over the past two months predicted at almost 39 million.

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.

When combined with initial jobless claims filed over the last eight weeks, the new figures took the nine-week jobless claims total to 38.6 million as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle the USA economy.


Millions have filed for unemployment benefits every week for the last two months.

Once approved, claimants will be able to certify for any back weeks they are eligible for up to the week that ends March 28, and will be able to claim the additional $600 supplement known as Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) starting with the week ending April 4.

Continuing claims, which lags initial jobless claims data by one week, are anticipated to total 23.5 million in the week ending May 9 after a record 22.83 million in the previous week.


The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 2.4 million claims in the latest week. "This number of new claims alone is about equal to the population of the city of Houston, Texas". NY had 227,000, up from 199,000. Florida had 221,000 claims, California 214,000, and NY roughly 200,000.

The increase came as the nation as a whole saw the number of initial jobless claims fall 9.2%, to 2.4 million, according to the Labor Department.

Yet the weekly totals remain well above any seen in a single week during the global financial crisis 12 years ago, and more comparable to the Great Depression, as the pandemic forced businesses nationwide to shut down and lay off workers. This reading came in slightly worse than the market expectation of 2.4 million.


Worldwide coronavirus cases have already exceeded five million, with 329,000 deaths. In the USA, there were 1.53 million cases and 92,000 deaths.

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