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.
This is a developing story. It will be updated.