U.S. weekly jobless claims surge to record 3.28 million

U.S. weekly jobless claims surge to record 3.28 million
Job seekers speak with potential employers at a City of Boston Neighborhood Career Fair. Source: Reuters (File Photo)
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Daily US Times: The number of Americans filing jobless claims for unemployment benefits surged to a record of more than 3 million last week. This follows the strict measures to lockdown businesses to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country, which unleashed major layoffs.

The situation brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S. history.

The US Labor Department confirmed the jobless claims on Thursday and offered the clearest evidence yet of the coronavirus’ devastating impact on the economy.

The economic lockdown in such a big scale has forced the Federal Reserve to take extraordinary steps and the U.S. Congress to assemble a record $2 trillion stimulus package.

The hospitals and other healthcare providers who were having difficulty getting equipment would get money from the package and it would also “stabilise” key industrial sectors.

Experts say that the economy is already in recession while weekly unemployment claims are the most timely labor market indicator.

The Labour Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 3,001,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ending March 21, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.

Nearly every state cited Covid-19 for the jump in initial jobless claims, with heavy impacts transportation, recreation and entertainment, accommodation, food services, and healthcare.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll in the US reached a grim milestone as the number passed 1,000 in the country on Thursday.

There are more than 68,000 confirmed cases reported in the country.

According to the tally of Johns Hopkins University, global deaths passed 22,000, and 463,751 cases have been confirmed.

In New York, which is thought to be the epicenter of the epidemic on the U.S., deaths continued to rise. At least 334 deaths have been reported in the state as of early Thursday.