COVID-19 continues to jolt the nation’s economy as another 5,245,000 Americans applied for jobless benefits in the week ending April 11, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday (April 16). That brings the total to more than 20 million in just weeks -- a record.
Labor also upwardly revised the previous week's claims upward by another 9,000 to 6,615,000, which is also a record high. Similarly, the agency said the total seasonally adjusted number of unemployed Americans collecting benefits totaled just under 12 million during the week ended April 4. That's also a new record, up 4,530,000 from the previous week's revised level.
"Records are being broken left and right with respect to the depth and breadth of the current downturn," Bankrate.com Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick said in reaction to the numbers. "With no immediate end in sight to efforts aimed a mitigating the virus’ spread and impact, it is impossible to see a near-term upturn in employment prospects."
The state that has been hurt most so far is Rhode Island, where the unemployment rate was 11.9 percent as of March 28 (the latest date with data available). That's followed by Pennsylvania at 9.8 percent, Nevada at 9.6 percent and Washington state at 9.3 percent.
Georgia saw the largest increases in initial claims for the week ended April 4, the latest period with such figures available. Labor said 256,312 workers filed claims that week there. Conversely, California reflected the largest decrease in jobless claims at 139,511.
As of Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University data reported more than 2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 132,000 deaths worldwide. The university said that includes more than 613,000 people infected in the United States, where 27,000 have died.
A study reported earlier this month showed that more than 66 million jobs in fields such as retail, food service and sales were at a high risk of layoffs because of the coronavirus and its economic fallout. On the other end of the spectrum are jobs at low risk of layoffs due to their nature, such as police officers.