A record 6.65 million US citizens filed for unemployment benefits in the last week of March, the US Labor Department said in a release on Thursday, 2 April.
"In the week ending 28 March, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,648,000, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week's revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series," the release says.
The numbers have doubled from the previous week (that ended on 21 March), which had seen a then-highest 3 million people file for the benefits.
Some Industries Particularly Affected
The data proves that the coronavirus pandemic has led to layoffs for a large number of people, as businesses reel under the effects of the crisis. According to a state-wise data breakup in the report, layoffs usually took place in the accommodation, food services, arts and entertainment sectors.
The release opened with a disclaimer about the coronavirus pandemic, acknowledging that it was the primary factor behind the massive rise in the claimants, and detailed the industries affected.
"The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus. States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries," the report says.
New Bill to Provide 'Unprecedented Paid Leave Benefits to Workers Affected by Coronavirus'
The Labour Department has also introduced a new paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave implementation for coronavirus-related leave, amidst the crisis.
“The FFCRA reflects a swift response by President Trump and Congress to the impact coronavirus is having on workers,” said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, as per the concerned press release. “The bill provides unprecedented paid leave benefits to American workers affected by the virus, while ensuring that businesses are reimbursed dollar-for-dollar. This is one of a number of important actions being taken to protect and sustain workers and their families during this time of need.”
“We’ve lived through the recession and 9/11. What we’re seeing with this decline is actually worse than both of those events,” said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of online jobs marketplace CareerBuilder, CNBC reported.
Last week, US President Donald Trump signed a historic USD 2 trillion rescue package, to prove the desperately needed financial relief for millions of Americans.
"We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard," he said, adding "I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound."
On 1 April, the death toll for coronavirus in the US set a new record, with 884 deaths in one day.