U.S. jobless claims totaled 4.4 million last week as COVID-19 continues to sweep nation

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The number of initial jobless claims in the United States totaled 4.4 million last week as COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation, raising the five-week total to over 26 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday.

In the week ending April 18, the number of people filing for U.S. unemployment benefits decreased by 810,000 to 4.4 million.

The newly released number came after the figure spiked by 3 million to reach a record 3.3 million in the week ending March 21, surged by 3.34 million to reach 6.87 million in the week ending March 28, totaled 6.62 million in the week ending April 4, and then fell to 5.2 million in the week ending April 11.

“It took five weeks to wipe all out all the job gains added over the last 11 years,” Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, a global political risk research and consulting firm, said on Twitter.

The new report also showed that the four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 280,000 to reach 5.8 million.

COVID-19 “continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment,” the bureau noted.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.0 percent for the week ending April 11, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate, the report showed.

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics’s semiannual Global Economics Prospects outlook released earlier this month, the U.S. output is expected to shrink by 8.0 percent in 2020, and the unemployment rate will probably peak around 20 percent in the early summer. Enditem

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