Jobless claims surge to 3.3M as coronavirus spreads

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Layoffs are skyrocketing as the coronavirus upends the U.S. economy.

The number of Americans filing initial applications for unemployment benefits jumped nearly twelvefold to a record 3.28 million last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, offering the most vivid evidence yet of the outbreak’s widespread damage to the economy.

The total was well above the 1.5 million claims economists had forecast, according to the median estimate of those surveyed by Bloomberg.

The pandemic has set off the most abrupt near-shutdown of the economy in history. Many restaurants, shops, movie theaters, sports arenas and other gathering spots across the country suddenly closed their doors or scaled back service last week to contain the spread of the virus.

Layoffs continued in accommodation and food services, Labor said. Other industries hit hard included health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries, Labor said.

Economists’ estimates of the jobless claims total – a reliable gauge of layoffs across the country – varied widely, from as little as 1 million or so to upwards of 4 million.

Coronavirus layoffs accelerate:It’s not just restaurants and movie theaters cutting jobs. Small business layoffs spread.

Tough choices:Despite coronavirus, millions of workers can’t stay home. Are they safe?

The actual total was on the higher side and so was expected to roil stocks, says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. But the Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 900 points in early afternoon trading Thursday in a sign that many investors had anticipated a dismal number and instead were pinning their hopes on the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate late Wednesday to cushion the outbreak’s economic blow. Many health officials expect the number of U.S. infections to begin waning in May or June as the weather warms.



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Editor is St Louis Media, LLC (STLM). STLM is a web hosting, design, SEO, press release distribution company and news agency located in St. Louis, Missouri. We own and operate multiple news sites in the region. Our objective with STLNewsMissouri.com is to offer readers a one-stop news site for Missouri news. We aggregate news from news media across the state. We do not aggregate news from all sources. We pick from those that offer RSS feeds and pick the best with eliminating those that might produce the same news stories, written differently.
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