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An unprecedented number of Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week when the coronavirus pandemic closed companies across the country.
Almost 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 21, nearly five times the previous weekly record of 1982. For comparison: In the worst week after the financial crash in 2008, unemployment claims stood at 665,000.
“This is the worst one-day job market news in American history,” said Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, in an email.
The number of Americans looking for help “clearly shows the extent of the economic devastation caused by the corona virus,” ; Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics said in a statement to investors. In terms of perspective, unemployment claims reported on Thursday have wiped out all employment growth for 2019 and half of 2018.
And as amazing as the numbers are, they are likely to increase in the coming weeks, Ashworth noted. The flood of claims hasThis prevents many recently dismissed workers from applying for financial support.
Ashworth added that he expected an unemployment rate of 50 yearsto surpass the 10% in the next month.
Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinUnemployment claims on Thursday said they were “not relevant” because US lawmakers were about to pass a major law on economic incentives. The would give unemployed workers full wages for four months, extend benefits to independent contractors (who are usually exempt) and send direct payments of up to $ 1,200 to each adult. The package also includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to businesses, as well as aid to hospitals and state and local governments.
Record high 3.28 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week.