Published on : Modified :
Weekly jobless claims exploded in the United States last week, reaching an all-time high, at more than 3 million. The measures adopted to contain the coronavirus pandemic suddenly stopped the country's activity and triggered an unprecedented wave of layoffs. </p><div> <p>The new coronavirus pandemic has detonated weekly claims for unemployment benefits in the United States, with more than 3 million more people applying for unemployment benefits last week, an all-time high, Labor Department said on Thursday March 26. American.
3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits for the first time during the week of March 15-21, 3 million more than the previous week, which registered 282,000 new claims. This is a level never seen in the United States, the previous record dating from October 1982 with 695,000 new requests.
Economists expected an average of 1 million jobless claims with forecasts ranging from 250,000 to 4 million.
“The extraordinary increase in first requests is due to the effects (of the epidemic) of Covid-19”, notes the Department of Labor in its press release. The Labor Department specifies that it is mainly the service industries, in particular accommodation and food services, which are affected.
Other sectors are also affected, said the Labor Department, which quotes “health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and leisure, transportation and warehousing and manufacturing industries” .
More than half of Americans are now being asked to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading. The containment measures put in place, to varying degrees, in several metropolises or states of the country, including the most populated like California and New York, forced restaurants and shops to close temporarily, and severely affected sectors like transport or tourism.
Extension of unemployment insurance
The massive economic support plan that received the green light from the Senate on Wednesday evening provides for an extension of unemployment insurance while many Americans are in a precarious situation, paid by the hour, by the day or even by the race.
This plan provides for assistance of more than $ 2 trillion, and in particular a very important component that will allow businesses to keep their employees and continue to pay them.
Unemployment benefits have been significantly extended and self-employed or part-time workers will be able to benefit, as will sick and quarantined people.
A major crisis
In just a few weeks, the coronavirus and the containment of millions of people it has caused has almost wiped out the world economy, to the point that economists expect the most severe recession in modern history, perhaps worse than during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The current crisis also promises to be more severe than that of 2008, because this time it affects not only the financial system but the entire real economy, with a collapse in a few weeks of production and therefore of supply , and also demand, because of billions of people in confinement.
With Reuters and AFP