Unemployment Claims Surge As Coronavirus Concerns Force Businesses to Close

March 19, 2020

We are beginning to see the number of Americans who need unemployment benefits rise as “non-essential” businesses across the nation close. While the worst is yet to come, the numbers are already spiking. Initial jobless claims increased by 70,000 last week, bringing the total to 281,000. This is the fourth-highest percentage jump on record.

The White House has asked states to not release state-level numbers until the national figures are released, but the Wall Street Journal reports that economists expect the number could reach as high as 2 million. Anecdotal reports show a staggering increase. California’s government claims that the stat received 80,000 claims on Tuesday, compared to an average of 2,000 on a typical day. New York’s unemployment benefits website has seen a 400% increase in traffic.

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