- COVID-19: US Unemployment Claims Jump to Record High of 3.3m
The number of unemployed Americans that filed for unemployment benefits rose to a record-high of 3.3 million last week as more Americans were reportedly out of job than the world’s largest economy has witnessed.
According to the Department of Labor, the nation’s initial jobless claims jumped to 3.28 million in the week ended March 21, 2020. This is the largest unemployment claims on record and dwarfed the 695,000 claims filed in the week ending October 2, 1982.
The increase was from 282,000 claims recorded in the previous week before President Trump directed that no more than 10 people should be seen at a place following the surged in the number of the nation’s coronavirus cases.
“Most historical comparisons of this scale are inadequate. The closest would be natural disasters like major hurricanes. However, as today’s report shows, the coronavirus outbreak is economically akin to a major hurricane occurring in every state around the country for weeks on end,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao wrote in emailed comments.
A former chief economist for the US Department of Labor who presently works with the Economic Policy Institute, Heidi Shierholz, called the increase in unemployment claims a tip if the iceberg.
She, however, projected that given current situation 14 million workers would have lost their jobs by the summer.
“We estimate that by summer, 14 million workers will lost their jobs due to the coronavirus shock,” she said in a tweet.
On Wednesday, the Senate approved Donald Trump’s $2 trillion stimulus package to cushion the American economy as more businesses shut down operations with families expected to start struggling to meet financial obligations without support.
“Research shows that the US unemployment insurance system provides a valuable backstop for working families,” said Mary Daly, a labour economist and president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. “The federal government’s consideration of measures to expand federal funding and availability of UI payments makes a lot of sense.”