The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week rocketed to a record 3.28 million as large parts of the U.S. economy shut down and companies laid off scores of workers to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The seasonally adjusted increase in initial jobless claims from March 15 to March 21 was the largest ever, easily crushing the previous record of 695,000 in 1982. Just a few weeks ago, new claims hovered in the low 200,000s and stood near a 50-year low
The sudden and almost unfathomable surge in claims is likely just the beginning. Waves of fresh layoffs are expected with many states ordering nonessential businesses to close.
Economists were bracing for a terrible number. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 2.5 million increase.
The actual or unadjusted number of new claims, meanwhile, was 2.9 million, according to new figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.
Source : Marketwatch