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U.S. Jobless Claims Soar to 6.6 Million

The wave of Americans filing for unemployment insurance continued last week, as a record 6.6 million new claims were filed, the U.S. Labor Department reported April 2.

Economists had been predicting the figure to be 3.1 million, a week after nearly 3.3 million filings came in what has been a record-shattering increase of the jobless ranks. Before the coronavirus forced much of the U.S. economy to shut down, the previous high week for claims was 695,000 in 1982.

The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus. States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.

In the week ending March 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,648,000, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

All states reported increases in initial claims for the week ending March 21. The largest increases were in Pennsylvania (+362,012), Ohio (+189,263), Massachusetts (+141,003), Texas (+139,250), and California (+128,727), while the smallest increases were in the Virgin Islands (+79), South Dakota (+1,571), West Virginia (+2,671), Vermont (+3,125) and Wyoming (+3,136). 

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