U.S. jobless claims surge to record 3.3 mln last week amid COVID-19 fallout

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-27 01:18:53|Editor: huaxia

The Macy's store on Herald Square is temporarily closed in New York, the United States, March 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The number of initial jobless claims in the United States reached 3.3 million last week, marking the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in history.

WASHINGTON, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The number of initial jobless claims in the United States surged by 3 million to reach 3.3 million last week as COVID-19 devastates the economy, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday.

In the week ending March 21, the number of people filing for U.S. unemployment benefits spiked by 3,001,000 to 3,283,000, according to the bureau.

"This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series," the report said. The bureau noted that the previous high was 695,000 in October 1982.

"Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts," the report said. "States continued to cite services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services."

Photo taken on March 20, 2020 shows a closed shopping mall in Los Angeles, California, the United States. (Photo by Qian Weizhong/Xinhua)

"Additional industries heavily cited for the increases included the health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries," according to the report.

The report showed that the four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 765,750 to 998,250. The previous week's level of initial claims was revised up by 1,000 to 282,000.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 14 was 1,803,000, an increase of 101,000 from the previous week's revised level, the report said. This is the highest level for insured unemployment since April 14, 2018 when it was 1,824,000.

More and more state and local officials have closed nonessential businesses and ordered residents to stay home in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, effectively shutting down a significant part of the economy.

The U.S. Senate approved a long-waited 2-trillion-U.S.-dollar relief package on Wednesday night, which includes measures to stabilize the labor market, such as emergency loans for small businesses, business tax breaks, unemployment benefits expansion, and 1,000-dollar-plus direct payments for working Americans.