Unemployment Claims Skyrocket to More Than 16 Million as US Loses 10% of Workforce in 3 Weeks

Unemployment claims increased by 6.6 million this week as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend the global economy, according to the latest Labor Department data.

The latest numbers bring the total claims over the past three weeks to 16 million. Considering there were about 151 million people on payrolls last month, the US has now lost 10% of its workforce in the past three weeks, CNBC noted.

Last week saw 6.9 million unemployment claims and the prior week saw 3.3 million, all far higher than any previous unemployment increase in history.

New York, California, and Michigan, three of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus, have also seen the largest increase in claims.

Spike follows strong job numbers:

The increase comes after the previous six-month period when the US averaged just 221,000 unemployment claims per month.

Most of the unemployment decline in recent weeks came from restaurants and bars as well as health care and social assistance, according to CNBC. The numbers do not include those who have lost their jobs but were unable to look for work.

With more than 16 million jobs lost, the virus-caused downturn threatens to erase most of the job gains since the 2007-08 Great Recession, which totaled 24.8 million jobs from 2010 through 2020.

Fed adds another $2 trillion:

Moments after the jobs numbers were published, the Federal Reserve announced that it would inject another $2.3 trillion into businesses and local governments.

The Fed will give businesses with fewer than 10,000 employees loans with interest and payments that will be deferred for a year.

The Federal Reserve previously said it would provide up to $4 trillion in loans to businesses.

Congress also passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill and is expected to pass another bill infusing more money into a program aimed at rescuing small businesses.


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