AGENCIES, New York: The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt.
The move has resulted in a wave of layoffs that likely brought an end to the longest employment boom in US history.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 3.28 million in the latest week from a revised 282,000 the previous week, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982, the US Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 1 million, but estimates had ranged to as high as 4 million.
The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is inflicting on the economy say economists. Traditionally, the claims for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.
As job loss trend continues, economists predict the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13% by May. The last highest jobless rate that was recorded during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%.