Jessie Morancy stays home with her nephew, Freddy Preseler, 2 years old, after being laid off from her job at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. She has applied for unemployment benefits, joining the millions of Americans across the country who have done so. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
COVID-19

6.6 million more Americans have filed for unemployment

Janet Nguyen Apr 9, 2020
Jessie Morancy stays home with her nephew, Freddy Preseler, 2 years old, after being laid off from her job at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. She has applied for unemployment benefits, joining the millions of Americans across the country who have done so. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This story was updated on April 9 at 4:17 p.m. Eastern time.

More than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment claims last week, the second largest number on record. 

About 6.8 million people filed claims for the week ending March 28, which the Labor Department revised up by 219,000 from the figure it initially released. This means that in the past three weeks, almost 17 million Americans have filed claims.

*Figures have been seasonally adjusted.

The largest number on record prior to the spread of COVID-19 was during a week in October 1982, when about 695,000 people filed for unemployment.

The state with the highest number of unemployment claims last week was California, which had more than 925,000 unemployment claims.

*Figures have not been seasonally adjusted. Week of April 4 claims are “advance” claims, which are reported by the state liable for paying the unemployment compensation. Meanwhile, previous weeks’ reported claims reflect claimants by state of residence.

For the week ending March 28, there were nearly 872,000 layoffs in the state’s services industries, according to the Labor Department. 

Following California, Georgia had nearly 388,000 people file unemployment claims. Earlier this month, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered residents to stay at home, only going out for essential services, and recently extended his shelter-in-place rules through April 30. The governor previously said Georgia would not require such extreme measures. 

New York, the U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, also had one of the highest numbers of unemployment claims, at nearly 367,000.

In terms of percent increase, Georgia also topped the list, with the number of people filing for unemployment claims increasing 190%. Arkansas followed, at 119%. The state has taken stricter safety measures, banning dine-in services at restaurants and bars and ordering salons and tattoo parlors to shut down. 

The governor of Arizona, which had the third-highest percentage increase at almost 49%, also issued stay-at-home orders which took effect earlier last week.

*Figures have not been seasonally adjusted. Calculations based on the percentage increase between advance claims for week ending April 4, and week ending March 28.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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