Why the horrific jobless claims report is actually worse

Claims for unemployment benefits are spiking around the country as businesses shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus

"Yes, the surge in jobless claims was widely expected, but these numbers are still startling", said Berenberg Capital Markets U.S. Economist Roiana Reid.

"During the week ending March 21, the increase in initial claims are due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus", the department said.

The mandated closures prompted business owners ranging from chain clothing stores to local restaurants to lay off employees.

Schools have been shut down and workers have been ordered home in multiple states. Weekly claims are the most timely labor market indicator.

"The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs", labor economist at Schmidt Futures Martha Gimbel told The Washington Post.

New unemployment claims surged to a record high last week, topping 3 million.

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The Virginia Employment Commission has experienced what it calls an unprecedented deluge in calls, and warns those trying to file jobless claims by phone that they will experience wait times of two hours or more. In the week ended March 28, 2009, about 665,000 new claims were filed.

Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns in NY. However, as today's report shows, the coronavirus outbreak is economically akin to a major hurricane occurring in every state around the country for weeks on end, ' Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao wrote in emailed comments. In round numbers, approximately 160 million people are employed in the United States, with around 60 million of them employed by small businesses.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is encouraging New Mexico residents who are filing for unemployment to do so online, which should make it easier for the state to respond quickly.

The federal and IN state government have expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance to include workers who are unable to maintain employment as a result of COVID-19.

In Britain, the government said 477,000 people had applied over the past nine days for Universal Credit, a payment to help with living costs for those unemployed or on low incomes.

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