- As more businesses close during the pandemic, 4.4 million more Americans filed for unemployment.
- This is the fifth historic week for unemployment numbers, bringing the total to 26.5 million since March 14th.
- State unemployment systems are scrambling to meet the historic number of claims, which peaked at 6.9 million in late March.
As more and more businesses furlough their workers, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment for the fifth historic week in a row. For the week ending April 18, unemployment claims totaled 4.4 million.
The last five weeks have been the highest surge in unemployment claims since the Department of Labor started tracking data in 1967. Since March 14, more than 26.5 million initial claims have been filed. Even though some of these workers may be found ineligible for benefits, this indicates that roughly 16.2% of the US labor force is furloughed, laid off, or had their hours greatly reduced during the coronavirus pandemic.
Given the unprecidented number of new claims, states are scrambling to keep up with demand. In Hawaii, the loss of much of it’s tourism has resulted in 26% of the labor force filing in the last five weeks. In Michigan, it’s 24%. Earlier this week, Florida’s state unemployment agency said it had only paid out 14% of claims filed since March 15.
While it seems that claims peaked at 6.9 million during the last week of March, the data shows much of the economic damage is already done. Workers are already feeling the negative effects, but experts warn more bad economic news is on the horizon.