3.3 million Americans file for jobless benefits as coronavirus causes economic shutdown

Darnell Taylor
March 27, 2020

Almost 16,000 Nebraskans filed unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, according to non seasonally adjusted figures from the Department of Labor.

Almost every state cited COVID-19 for the jump in initial jobless claims, with heavy impacts in food services, accommodation, entertainment and recreation, healthcare and transportation, the report said.

The increase in jobless claims was even more staggering in Kansas, where 23,687 filed for unemployment last week, compared with 1,755 the week before - an overall increase of almost 1,250%. That figure is 2.9 million claims for non seasonally adjusted data.

But that staggering leap in joblessness likely understates the full damage the coronavirus outbreak has inflicted on the USA labor market, according to multiple economists.

The Labor Department reported California's claims at 186,809 last week, and New York's at 80,334, with each of these trailing the almost 379,000 claims filed in Pennsylvania.

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It comes as officials in states across the country close restaurants, bars, movie theatres, hotels and gyms.

Peach said it's likely many early job losses are concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sector.

"I'd guess, with the next month or two, we'll lose a third of the oil and gas workers", Peach said. That was up from 2,229 reported in the state the week before.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is encouraging New Mexico residents who are filing for unemployment to do so online, which should make it easier for the state to respond quickly.

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