Millions of Americans continue to lose their jobs as the COVID-19 crisis hammers the economy. In fact, the number of workers applying for unemployment benefits spiked to a record 6.648 million claims in the week ended March 28, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.
The increase of 3.34 million jobless claims from the previous week’s revised 3.31 million level, eclipsed the previous record of 695K, set in 1982.
Ahead of the report, Goldman Sachs (GS) had revised up its estimate for jobless claims to 6 million, saying unemployment “will be the timeliest hard data point for assessing the depth of the recession and catching the start of the recovery.”
Not a complete surprise
The report shouldn’t come as a shock given that only a couple of days ago economists at the Fed’s St. Louis district estimated 47 million jobs will be lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They also said that the potential for unemployment levels could move into the 32 percent range.
It goes without saying that the outlook is a sharp reversal for the $22 trillion economy, the world’s biggest, where the unemployment rate had been hovering around 3.5%.