Layoffs are skyrocketing as the coronavirus upends the U.S. economy.
The number of Americans filing initial applications for unemployment benefits jumped by 3 million to a record 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, offering the most vivid evidence yet of the coronavirus’s widespread damage to the economy.
The total was well above the 1.5 million claims economists had forecast, according to the median estimate of those surveyed by Bloomberg.
The pandemic has set off the most abrupt near-shutdown of the economy in history. Many restaurants, shops, movie theaters, sports arenas and other gathering spots across the country suddenly closed their doors or scaled back service last week to contain the spread of the virus.
Economists’ estimate of the jobless claims total – a reliable gauge of layoffs across the country – varied widely, from as little as 1 million or so to upwards of 4 million.
Coronavirus layoffs accelerate:It’s not just restaurants and movie theaters cutting jobs. Small business layoffs spread.