U.S. braces for record surge in jobless claims amid coronavirus fallout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits likely raced to as high as a record 4 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs. A view of Bourbon Street amid the outbreak of the coronavirus…

U.S. braces for record surge in jobless claims amid coronavirus fallout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits likely raced to as high as a record 4 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs. A view of Bourbon Street amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan BachmanThe weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday is set to offer the clearest evidence yet of the coronavirus’ devastating impact on the economy, which has forced the Federal Reserve to take extraordinary steps and set the U.S. Congress racing to assemble a record $2 trillion stimulus package. Economists say the economy is already in recession and the jobless claims report would offer proof of that. The weekly claims figures are the most timely labor market indicator. The report on Thursday is set to grab attention on both Wall Street and Main Street after the Trump administration requested that states stop giving daily snapshots of applications for jobless aid. According to a Reuters survey of economists, initial claims for state unemployment benefits probably surged to a seasonally adjusted 1 million for the week ended March 21, which would far eclipse the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982. Estimates in the survey were as high as 4 million, which would dwarf the 281,000 applications received during the week ended March 14. “Containment efforts in response to the coronavi
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