Goldman Sachs economists predict that 2.25 million people in the U.S. will have filed for unemployment benefits this week, which is the highest amount ever, according to a report by CNN.
On Thursday (March 19), the government said that 281,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits, which is a jump of 33 percent from the week before and the biggest leap since the early 1990s.
“During the week ending March 14, the increase in initial claims are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus,” the Department of Labor said in a release. “A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not.”
Goldman Sachs estimates that number is eight times more than last week and the highest level ever on record. Goldman based the estimate on the unusually large number of layoffs and the sheer number of industries affected by the coronavirus, including hospitality, airlines, hotels and sporting venues.
Unemployment offices around the country have been dealing with an increase in calls asking about benefits as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity said that it got 76,000 calls from Monday to Wednesday, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week. The office said it was going to hire 100 people to help with the surge in activity.
The New York State Department of Labor said it had already gotten 159,000 calls on Thursday alone, before noon. The agency said it gets about 10,000 on a regular day. Goldman Sachs economists said while it is possible that calls to agencies slowed down later in the week, a safe estimate would still mean 1 million people were out of work, which is a number much higher than the record high of 695,000, in October of 1982.