Another 4.4 Million File for Unemployment

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The record surge of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is starting to recede, but another 4.4 million people filed new jobless claims last week to push the total above 26 million since the coronavirus pandemic laid siege to the U.S. economy a month and a half ago.

This story by Jeffry Bartash originally appeared in Market Watch.

The spike in unemployment has likely pushed the jobless rate to between 15 percent and 20 percent, economists estimate. The only other time in American history when unemployment was that high was in the early stages of the Great Depression almost a century ago.

In less than two months, the pandemic has eliminated all the 23 million jobs created after the Great Recession.

While the rate of job losses is slowing, layoffs are expected to tally in the millions for at least a few more weeks.

The sharp and sudden flood in unemployment is the worst since the 1930s. Just a month and a half ago, new jobless claims were in the low 200,000s and stood near a 50-year low. Only about 1.7 million Americans were collecting benefits.

Last week, the states of California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and New York reported the biggest increases in new claims, according to the Labor Department.

Altogether, the states reported that 16 million people were receiving benefits through the second week of April, according to delayed government data on continuing claims. They are reported with a one-week lag.

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