US unemployment claims hit 33.3 million amid virus

A man walks down a street with many businesses closed in Brooklyn, New York, USA, 07 May 2020. The unemployment rate in the United States is rising as the national economy begins to show the large impact from state and city responses to the coronavirus pandemic. New York City is still considered the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

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A further 3.2 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week as the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to mount.

The new applications brought the total number of jobless claims since mid-March to 33.3 million- or about 20% of the US workforce.

The number of new claims reported each week by the Department of Labor has subsided since hitting a peak of 6.9 million in March.

But they remain extraordinarily high.

And the number of people collecting benefits has continued to rise, despite recent moves to start re-opening in some parts of the country.

Companies such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb are amongst the firms that have announced cuts in recent weeks, as shutdowns halted significant amounts of travel.

The impact has been felt across the economy, affecting medical practices, restaurants and administrative workers among many others.

Economists say the monthly unemployment rate for April, which will be released on Friday, is likely to reach 15% or higher.

Just two months ago, the unemployment rate was at 3.5%, a 50-year low.

Read more via Reuters

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