US Unemployment Rises Another 3M, Bringing Total to 33M since Pandemic Began
Another three million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to extract its terrible toll on the US jobs market.
Some 33 million jobless Americans have now made claims in the past seven weeks.
The latest figures from the US labor department come ahead of the first official monthly report on the American jobs market since the pandemic triggered lockdowns across the country. In March, the official unemployment rate in the US was 4.4%, close to a 50-year low, but economists predict it could now be as high as 20%, a level unseen since the 1930s Great Depression.
The pace of layoffs has overwhelmed state unemployment systems across the country. Over a million people in North Carolina have now made unemployment insurance benefit claims, equivalent to 20% of the state’s workforce. Some four million have applied in California and the state’s jobless benefits fund is “very close” to running out, governor Gavin Newsom said this week.
In Nashville, Tennessee, where the unemployment compensation trust fund is also close to exhaustion, Brenda Waybrant said she was still waiting on unemployment insurance to come in, even though she filed her application on 28 March. Waybrant was laid off mid-March from her job waiting tables at an event venue in downtown Nashville.