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Initial unemployment benefit claims increased to 3.3 million last week, most in history

Initial unemployment benefit claims increased to 3.3 million last week, most in history
Written by David

Initial unemployment claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million week ending March 21, according to the Department of Labor.

This is the highest number of initial unemployed claims in history since the Ministry of Labor began tracking the data in 1967. The previous high was 695,000 claims filed in the week ending October 2, 1982.

Last week’s jump marked a sharp increase from a revised 282,000 claims last week. Prior to the pandemic, the initial demands had hovered in the low 200,000 countries each week, reflecting a strong labor market.

But in recent weeks, the corona virus outbreak has forced many companies to suddenly shut down as the country tries to curb the spreading virus. For many companies, it also means dismissing workers, at least temporarily.

This is the most important difference between the coronavirus shock compared to previous periods of financial distress: it is sudden and affects virtually all industries and business models.

Economists now expect the US economy to end up in a recession in the second quarter before staging a comeback later in the year after the spread of the virus has slowed.

At the same time, state labor departments throughout the country struggled to cope with the sudden influx in claims for unemployment benefits. The New York Labor Department, for example, has added server capacity and hired more than 65 additional staff to handle all claims that suddenly flow in. And last week, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity said it planned to hire 100 additional staff to help answer calls and walk people through the application process.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.


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