A record-setting 3,283,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending March 21. This represents an unprecedented increase of over 3,001,000 from the previous week’s figures. It’s the highest level of claims in reported history. The huge number of people filing for benefits is above the numbers reported during the financial crisis. In 2009, the week that ended March 28, roughly 665,000 new unemployment claims were filed.
Analysts say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and more people will be downsized due to the economic aftershock of the coronavirus. The loss of jobs reported, coupled with the velocity of predicted additional layoffs, could push the unemployment rate to 5.5%.
The massive spike in new jobless claims is due, in part, to the nationwide lockdown intended to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. One third of Americans are under quarantine. This means that a large segment of commerce has grinded to a halt, necessitating significant layoffs.