Coronavirus: US unemployment at record high as 33m jobless claims filed since pandemic started

Entire era of historic job expansion following the Great Recession of 2008 is now reportedly fully erased

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 07 May 2020 14:45 BST
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Another 3.2 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in the US as the coronavirus pandemic triggered one of the most expansive job losses in history, with 33 million people seeking aid since the outbreak began.

The country has slipped into one of its worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, with the unemployment rate expected to reach at least 16 percent. Meanwhile, the entire era of historic job expansion following the Great Recession of 2008 has now reportedly been fully erased.

Those numbers reflected seasonally adjusted claims published by the US Labour Department on Thursday.

The data supported economists' predictions of a protracted recovery of the economy, which is reeling from nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The economy also shrank in the first quarter at the steepest pace since the Great Recession.

The weekly claims report followed news on Wednesday that private payrolls fell by a record 20 million in April, which set up the overall labour market for historic job losses.

It marked the fifth straight weekly decrease in applications since hitting a record 6.8 million in the week of 28 March.

Analysts have also noted the official unemployment numbers do not take into account other ways workers have been forced to reduce hours and pay amid the pandemic.

April could, however, mark the trough in job losses as more small businesses access their portion of the sweeping $2trn fiscal package, which made provisions for them to get loans that could be partially forgiven if they were used for employee salaries.

At least 30 states are beginning to partially reopen, which could see some of the unemployed going back to work.

Reuters contributed to this report

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