U.S. unemployment claims rise by 3M in largest-ever weekly increase

A pizza restaurant in Los Angeles enforces a social distancing policy with a sign on its entrance, seen on Monday. Labor losses created by the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in millions of new unemployment claims. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

March 26 (UPI) — New unemployment claims in the United States surged by more than 1,000 percent last week to nearly 3.3 million, the largest weekly increase in U.S. history.

The Labor Department released the new unemployment figures Thursday, reflecting part of the economic impact the coronavirus outbreak has made so far.

Thursday’s was the first jobless report since a swath of states began issuing shelter-in-place orders for business closings in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

“In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised level,” the department said in a statement.

The report said the previous weekly high was 695,000 in October 1982.

The four-week moving average rose to 998,250, an increase of 765,750 from the previous week.

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“The increase in initial claims are due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus,” the Labor Department noted. “Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts.

“States continued to cite services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services. Additional industries heavily cited for the increases included the healthcare and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries.”

The American Hotel and Lodging Association said about 1 million jobs alone were lost in its industry.

The Senate approved a $2.2 trillion economic relief package on Wednesday that includes direct payments to most Americans. It’s expected to receive a vote Thursday and be signed by President Donald Trump. Payments of at least $1,200 will be sent out within weeks, officials said.

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