People wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas on Tuesday. | John Locher/AP Photo
Employers are slashing jobs at a furious pace across the nation due to mass shutdowns over the coronavirus, slamming state unemployment offices with a crush of filers facing sudden crises.
Long before official government data is expected to reveal the depths of the economic shock inflicted by the coronavirus, reports from state officials and businesses around the country indicate the gathering of a massive wave of unemployment on a scale unseen since the Great Recession.
In New Jersey, 15,000 people applied for unemployment benefits on Monday, a twelvefold increase over normal levels. In Connecticut, nearly 8,000 applications arrived over the weekend, an eightfold increase over the norm. Rhode Island officials reported Tuesday a five-day rise in claims due to the coronavirus from 10 on March 11 to 6,282 on March 16.
More than 45,000 Ohio workers have applied for unemployment over the past week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services told Sen. Rob Portman, a nearly sevenfold increase over the previous week.
The dramatic rise in claims could spur further action by Congress beyond the legislation now under discussion. “This demonstrates the urgency for Congress to act, and act quickly,” Portman said Tuesday in a written statement.
According to an NPR/Marist poll conducted Thursday and Friday, 18 percent of households already repor
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