U.S. jobless claims soar to record 26.5m

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U.S. jobless claims soared to a staggering 26.5 million on Thursday, as coronavirus wiped out all the jobs gained during the longest employment boom that began in 2010.
Data released today showed another 4.4 million US workers filed claims for jobless benefits, increasing the total since the pandemic struck from 22million to 26.4 million.
Although, the total for the past week was a drop from the previous three weeks, it remains at stunningly high levels.
This arose as a result of government-ordered shutdowns to stop a virus that has already killed more than 46,500 and infected nearly 840,000 Americans.
The labor market slaughter added to collapsing oil prices, retail sales, manufacturing production, homebuilding and home sales in reinforcing economists’ contention that the economy entered recession in March.
As the economic slump deepens, protests have risen against nationwide lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19.
President Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term in the White House in November’s general election, has been anxious to restart the paralyzed economy.
Trump on Wednesday applauded steps taken by a handful of Republican-led states to begin reopening their economies, despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge in infections.
“Today’s report shows the labor market is almost certainly pushing into new territory, jolting the unemployment rate up above the Great Recession’s 10% peak and wiping out more jobs than we’ve gained in the recovery,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, a website recruitment firm.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 810,000 to a seasonally adjusted 4.427 million for the week ended April 18, the government said.
Data for the prior week was revised to show 8,000 fewer applications received than previously reported, reducing the count for that period to 5.237 million. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 4.2 million in the latest week.
All told, 26.453 million people have filed claims for jobless benefits since March 21, representing 16.2% of the labor force.
The economy created 22 million jobs during the employment boom which started in September 2010 and abruptly ended in February this year.
The Labour Department said “the COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims.”

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