Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Unemployment claims surge past 16 million in 3 weeks after another staggering report

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department has just come out with more staggering unemployment numbers.

An additional 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. This nearly matches last week's record number, which has now been revised up to 6.8 million. The week prior, about 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims.

Each of these past three weeks has far exceeded the pre-coronavirus record of 695,000 unemployment claims filed during a week in October 1982, and they add up to more than 16 million Americans having filed for unemployment during that time.

"The number of jobs lost in a mere three weeks now exceeds the 15 million that it took 18 months for the Great Recession to bulldoze in 2007-2009," Politico reports. In fact, these numbers show that "more than one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks," The Associated Press notes.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the unemployment rate climbed to 4.4 percent in March as about 700,000 jobs were lost; an almost 10-year record of monthly job gains ended as businesses closed around the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. But considering this number was based on a survey taken up until the middle of the month, economists at the time warned to brace for the worst in the May report.