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US unemployment soars to over 30 MILLION as coronavirus pandemic wrecks economy

US unemployment soars to over 30 MILLION as coronavirus pandemic wrecks economy
First-time filings for unemployment insurance hit 3.84 million in the week ending April 25, the US Labor Department announced on Thursday.

That brings the total number of first-time claims to 30.3 million over the past six weeks of the forced lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The figure represents roughly 18.6 percent of the US labor force.

The state of Washington showed the biggest jump in unemployment for the week, with an increase of 62,282, a 75 percent surge from a week ago, according to unadjusted figures. California saw a decline of more than 200,000 and Pennsylvania was down by 63,312.

Next week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its official jobs report for April, which is expected to show the unemployment rate surge to 14 percent. That would be the highest rate since the monthly data series began in 1948.

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Economists expect the number of unemployed Americans in April to shatter the post-World War II record of 10.8 percent reached in November 1982. In March, the jobless rate skyrocketed 0.9 of a percentage point to 4.4 percent, which is the greatest monthly change since January 1975. 

“The peak in unemployment will come in April or May, followed by declines beginning in June as economic reopening plays out. For small business loans to be forgiven, employers will need to rehire by late June,” Andrew Hollenhorst, an economist at Citigroup in New York, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“Enhanced unemployment benefits stretch through late July. The timing of these policies suggests there may be a surge of hiring into the later months of the summer.”

The US economy has suffered its sharpest contraction since the 2008 financial crisis as a result of nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of Covid-19. The United States is the worst-hit country, with more than 1 million coronavirus infections and more than 61,000 deaths.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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