Million Americans Lost their Jobs because of COVID-19

Claims for unemployment benefits are spiking around the country as businesses shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus

Claims for unemployment benefits are spiking around the country as businesses shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Andrew Kelly Reuters

Preliminary claims for unemployment advantages rose 3,001,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million within the week ending March 21, eclipsing the earlier record of 695,000 set in 1982, the Labor Division stated. The week of March 14 ended with initial claims totaling 282,000, which shows how many people have been forced out of work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The entire department is doing everything we can to meet the needs of this situation and our fellow Washingtonians". Despite the high number, there were also reports of website outages and jammed phone lines that prevented potentially several people from filing their unemployment claims.

The strain of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak accelerated across the United States on Wednesday beyond the hot spots of New York, California and Washington state as Louisiana and Iowa were declared federal disaster areas.

The package also provides cash payments of $1,200 for many Americans, and grants to small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as huge amounts for major industries like airlines that have been hit hard by the crisis.

The models "are based on prior experience and we have no prior experience of an economy that has largely been shut down", said Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics.

New claims filed last week were almost five times the number recorded during the peak of the Great Recession.

In India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown this week to stem the spread of the disease, industry groups warned job losses could run into the tens of millions.

The weekly claims figures are the most timely labor market indicator.

"A couple of weeks before this happened, we had a [company] meeting where we heard about how we did the previous year, and revenue was up".

"I'd guess, with the next month or two, we'll lose a third of the oil and gas workers", Peach said. It includes more generous benefits and extend eligibility for benefits by 13 weeks.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow acknowledged the report would show a jump, but said the market is expecting it.

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