US unemployment claims hit record high


The number of Americans who requested unemployment benefit jumped to a record of more than 3 million last week, with severe measures to contain the pandemic of coronavirus that suddenly paralyzed the country, triggering a wave of layoffs that probably ended the longest job boom in the history of the U.S.

REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

1/26/2017 REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

Photo: Reuters

Economists say the economy is already in a recession. Applications for unemployment benefits are the strongest indicator of the labor market.

The Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims report on Thursday, 26, offered the clearest evidence about the devastating impact of coronavirus on the economy, which forced the Federal Reserve to take extraordinary measures and prompted Congress to run for it. approve a $ 2 trillion stimulus package.

Economists say the economy is already in recession and that the report will provide proof of that.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 3.001 million, to 3.28 million in a seasonally adjusted figure in the week ending March 21, erasing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982, the Department of Labor reported.

Economists consulted by Reuters they predicted that the claims would increase to 1 million in the median of the projections, although the estimates reach 4 million.

The Department of Labor attributed the leap to Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

“During the week ending March 21, the increase in initial claims is due to the impacts of the Covid-19 virus,” the department said. “States continued to cite the service sector widely, mainly accommodation and food services. Other industries strongly cited by the increases included the sectors of health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and storage and manufacturing.”

Governors in at least 18 states, representing almost half the country’s population, have ordered residents to remain at home. “Non-essential” deals were also closed. According to economists, a fifth of the workforce is under some kind of impediment.

Order data unemployment benefit from last week are unlikely to have an impact on the March employment report as they fall outside the period when the government surveyed employers, which was the week until March 14. Economists, however, say the race for aid this week of research suggests that job creation has fallen this month, which will end nearly 9 and a half years of job growth.

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