US unemployment claims surpass 40 million
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits throughout the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 40 million with 2 million additional claimants applying last week.
The closures of shops, restaurants and other businesses have dealt the American economy a heavy blow and unemployment rates have skyrocketed to rates unseen in 70 years since the US first started tracking unemployment statistics in 1948. The number of unemployed people actively receiving benefits now accounts for 14.5 percent of the entire American workforce.
The pace of applications has slowed down continuously for eight consecutive weeks as some states have eased lockdown restrictions and businesses have returned to work. The 2.1 million claims last week is a drop from 2.4 million the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance scheme which supports the self-employed and others who do not qualify for standard unemployment assistance counted 1.19 million new applications last week, a decrease from the 1.25 million applications that were submitted over the course of the previous week.