US jobless claims balloon to record on coronavirus impact

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs that likely brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S.…

US jobless claims balloon to record on coronavirus impact

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs that likely brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S. history.[] A man crosses a nearly empty 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 3.28 million in the latest week from a revised 282,000 the previous week, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 1 million, but estimates had ranged to as high as 4 million. The jobless blowout was announced shortly after Federal Reserve Chairman said on NBC’s Today Show that the U.S. “may well be in recession” but progress in controlling the spread of the coronavirus will dictate when the economy can fully reopen. His remarks were an unusual acknowledgement by a Fed chair that the economy may be contracting even before data confirms it. MARKETS: STOCKS: S&P 500 .SPX was up more than 1% shortly after the open, and the Dow .DJI rose more than 2% after futures EScv1 reversed early losses. TREASURIES: Yields rose slightly: The two-year note yield was last at 0.316% and the 10-year yield was at 0.803% DOLLAR: The US dollar index =USD extended a loss and was last off 0.82% COMMENTS: JAMES KNIGHTLEY, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIST, ING (EMAIL NOTE TO CLIENTS) “Even in the knowledge that tens of thousands of businesses shuttered in response to Covid-19 containment measures, the 3.3 million spike in initial claims is still shocking.” “This is obviously the result of the city and state lockdowns that have been spreading across the US as a response to try to contain Covid-19. Pennsylvania reported the highest number of claims (378,900), with Ohio reporting 187,800, Illinois 114,700, California 186,800 and New York 80,300. “The latter two states seem low given anecdotal evidence, which may indeed reflect issues with websites crashing and phone lines jammed and a general reluctance of people to stand in line with lots of other claimants in the current environment. We would expect numbers from these states and others to climb in coming weeks, particularly with the number of lockdowns increasing across the US.” QUINCY KROSBY, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY “This is a record breaking number. The number has sent chills through the markets. If these numbers continue for three or four weeks, there will be demand for more fiscal support. Even monetary support from the Federal Reserve which ha
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