Initial jobless claims in the week ending March 20 reached 3.283 million, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday. The number is more than triple the estimate of 1 million new claims.
The prior week's figure was 281,000. The number reported Thursday far exceeds the prior initial jobless claims record of 695,000 in 1982, Bloomberg reported.
U.S. continuing claims for March 13 were at 1.803 million. The prior reading was revised from an initial 1.701 million to 1.702 million.
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The spread of the coronavirus means more than 1 million Americans are forecast to have filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned in a meeting with Republican senators that the U.S. unemployment rate could reach 20% if fiscal action is not taken immediately.
The Senate approved a $2-trillion stimulus package late Wednesday after five days of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. The bill next goes to to the House of Representatives for consideration.
US Adds 225K Jobs In January, Labor Participation Rate Rises
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