Number of weekly jobless claims surge in Iowa, surpass 40,000

Darnell Taylor
March 26, 2020

US unemployment claims rise 3.3 million for the week of March 21, 2020, according to the US Labor Department on March 26.

The surge in unemployment comes amid a global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses across the USA are on lockdown in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Nationally, an unprecedented 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the week ending March 21.

The hotel industry alone has lost as many as 1 million jobs this month, the American Hotel and Lodging Association says. That was second only to the week that ended October 2, 1982, when 695,000 first-time claims were filed. That's five times the previous record set in 1982.

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The report affirmed economists' fears that the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing social distancing measures to contain it have forced businesses to let workers go at a record clip.

"There has been a sharp explosion here in terms of furloughs and layoffs just in the past week, and at a much faster speed than during the Great Recession", said Michael Bernick, former chief of California's Employment Development Department and now a lawyer at San Francisco-based firm Duane Morris. "Everyone was pretty excited for the next year", he says. And within two weeks, I think, 155 shows had canceled. "The sooner we get through this period and get the virus under control, the sooner the recovery can come".

Hill says he expects to be called back to work when the economy recovers, but no one is sure when that will be.

A $2.2 trillion emergency economic rescue package approved by the Senate Wednesday night will provide unemployment insurance benefits equaling about $24 per hour for four months. It would also include more generous benefits and extend eligibility for benefits by 13 weeks. A House vote is expected by Friday.

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