By News Desk
Atleast 43 million United States (US) citizens have filed for unemployment benefits after the recession caused by outbreak of coronavirus pandemic dragged on in the country, leaving employers to downsize their firms. Before the pandemic, the labor department had never recorded a single week of jobless claims higher than over a million but since the outbreak of the virus, for 11 weeks in a row, jobless claims have skyrocketed.
According to the US Department of Labor, officials at the agency last week received over 1.9 million requests from workers filing for initial unemployment aid, increasing the number of citizens that requested the benefits to 42.6 million people.
Claims again fell from the previous week, a trend that has held for the past ten weeks, ever since first-time claims peaked at 6.9 million in the last week of March.
Continuing claims, which count people who have filed benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 21.5 million. This number unexpectedly increased slightly from the week prior.
That’s a disappointing sign. Economists began shifting their focus from initial claims to continuing claims in May, as the number of first-time filers continued to drop. Continuing claims declined in the previous week, suggesting more people are returning to work as the economy is reopening. But, as last week’s increase proves, the progress is painfully slow.
And moving faster to reopen could increase the threat of spreading Covid-19. America’s unemployment rate is expected to have reached nearly 20 percent in March, with 28.5 million jobs eliminated over the past two months. That’s an unemployment rate not recorded since the Great Depression, and the highest monthly level since the data collection began in 1948.