Jobless Claims Blew Past 3 Million Last Week To Record High
More than 3 million Americans filed jobless claims last week in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, shattering the previous high of 665,000 set during the Great Recession in 2009.
According to CNBC, the Labor Department reported 3.28 million unemployment claims filed the previous week, blowing well past Wall Street’s estimate that 1.5 million new claims might arise.
“This was way bigger than we thought and the market’s still moving higher,” said vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, Randy Frederick. “That’s a very encouraging sign that we may be in a bottoming process.”
The record-high number came as cities and states across the U.S. have shut down businesses in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Some states were hit particularly hard, both by the virus and the inevitable jobless claims that would follow: “Pennsylvania increased twentyfold, from 15,439 to 378,908. New York saw its number more than quintuple, rising from 14,272 to 80,334, while California tripled to 186,809. Louisiana, where coronavirus infections have risen at a dangerous pace, went from 2,255 a week earlier to 72,620.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told NBC’s TODAY on Thursday that “this is a unique situation” and not a “typical downturn.”
“At a certain point, we will get the spread of the virus under control. At that time, confidence will return, businesses will open again, people will come back to work,” Powell said. “So you may well see a significant rise in unemployment, a significant decline in economic activity. But there can also be a good rebound on the other side of that.”