The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the labor market. First time unemployment claims hit 6.6 million in the week ended April 4, Labor Department data showed last week. Last week’s numbers, originally at 6.6 million, was revised upwards to 6.9 million, Breitbart reports.
Claims from back three weeks ago were also revised up from around 1 million for the week ended March 21 to 3.3 million.
The figure brings the three-week total to roughly 16.8 million Americans who have found themselves tragically on the unemployment rolls, a record for a period of that length, indicating the speed of which the Chinese virus has brought world economies to a near standstill.
According to Breitbart,
The CARES Act expanded the ranks of those eligible to file claims for unemployment benefits and raised the amount paid to unemployed workers. Self-employed workers and independent contractors can now file for benefits, expanding the number of claims.
New claims for state unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. Released weekly, they are some of the few real-time indicators of economic conditions.
Actual job losses may be higher than the most recent figures reveal. Applications in many states have been hampered by websites and phone lines failing due to the rapid rise in the volume of claims.