Thousands of more Americans sought jobless benefits last week, lifting total applications for claims over the last month above an astounding 20 million, which would mark the deepening economic slump brought on by the novel coronavirus.
Thursday’s weekly unemployment claims report from the Labor Division will comply with dismal data on Wednesday, exhibiting a record plunge in retail sales in March and the biggest slump in factory production since 1946.
Economists are foretelling the economy, which they say is already in recession, shrunk in Q1 at its sharpest pace since World War II.
Weekly unemployment filings, the most timely data on the economy’s health, are being carefully watched for clues on the depth of the slowdown, when the waves of layoffs may let up and when recovery may begin.
Initial claims for state unemployment advantages most likely totaled 5.105 million in the week ended April 11, in accordance with a survey of economists — a staggering number regardless that lower than the earlier week’s 6.606 million. Estimates within the survey have been as high as 8 million.
Going by the average estimation, last week’s filings data would bring the cumulative unemployment benefits claims to over 20 million since the week ending March 21.
Economists are split on whether the second straight weekly fall in filings suggests that filings peaked at a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28, or that overwhelmed state employment offices have been unable to process the influx of applications.