The coronavirus pandemic continues to rock the country, as another 4.43 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the week ending April 18, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday (April 23). That brings the total number of Americans who've filed for unemployment to about 26 million since the coronavirus crisis began -- effectively wiping out all jobs created since the Great Recession.
Still, Thursday's report had a bit of good news in that weekly claims fell by about 810,000 from the previous week's 5.25 million, which the Labor Department also downwardly revised by a slight 8,000 claims.
Another plus -- just six U.S. states saw increased unemployment filings in the week ended April 11, whereas 42 states reported declines of more than 1,000. Most attributed the declines to fewer layoffs in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, food services, technical services, waste management and construction industries.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ended April 11 were in Colorado (+58,246), New York (+50,250), Missouri (+10,668), Florida (+10,534) and North Carolina (+2,733). The largest decreases were in California (-263,342), Michigan (-166,347), New Jersey (-73,416), Georgia (-70,551) and Ohio (-66,874).
Still, the four-week moving average of total U.S. claims -- which markets often focus on because it can smooth out swings -- rose to 5.8 million for the week ended April 18. That's a 280,000 increase from the previous week's average, which Labor downwardly revised by 2,000 claims.
Million of U.S. jobs have been lost in the month since the pandemic began, as governments and businesses have been forced to enact shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.