The number of jobless continued to swell in the United States, with more than 6 million Americans filing first-time unemployment claims in the week ended April 4, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. This takes the total unemployed over the past three weeks to more than 15 million, as tough measures to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus by the country has brought almost everything to a standstill.
The coronavirus outbreak has been taking a toll on the global economy with the United States one of the hardest hit in the past few weeks. More than 435,000 have been infected by coronavirus in the United States with over 8,000 deaths. With factories halting production and stores pulling down shutters, the United States has been witnessing job losses in millions.
Claims for unemployment benefits hit record high
First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 4 totaled 6.6 million. Although it is slightly down from the upwardly revised 6.87 million the week earlier, the total claims over the past three weeks crossed 16 million, reported the Labor Department.
Last month's employment report showed that there were 151 million people on payrolls. The latest figures, released today, if compared with last month's employment report proves that the United States has lost more than 10% of its total workforce in the past three weeks.
The latest jobless data represents a decline of 261,000 from last week. The largest increase in claims this week came from California, New York and Michigan. These are also the hardest hit centers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Restaurants, drinking joints biggest casualties
Most of the job losses were in restaurants and drinking establishments. Also, the healthcare and the social assistance industry witnessed huge employment decline. A survey of households conducted by the Labor Department indicated a decline of nearly 3 million from the employment rank. A large portion of that number comprises the 1.3 million people who lost their jobs but were unable to look for new jobs because of restrictions imposed by the government following the coronavirus outbreak.
The Federal government, last Friday, reported that the US economy had lost 701,000 jobs in March. That was the highest since the Great Recession and also ended the longest employment boom in US history that started in 2010. Analysts expect that if the coronavirus doesn't get contained, the United States could lose as many as 20 million jobs in April.
However, a day earlier US state officials said that Americans, who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak, will start getting enhanced unemployment benefits as soon as this week. This includes a $600 weekly increase for up to four months. This is above the state benefits already in place. The additional $600 was approved by the Congress as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that was signed into law by US President Donald Trump. The enhanced jobless aid totals to $260 billion.