A restaurant sits empty in the United Airlines terminal at San Francisco International Airport. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another 5.2 million Americans have filed unemployment claims

Janet Nguyen Apr 16, 2020
A restaurant sits empty in the United Airlines terminal at San Francisco International Airport. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another 5.2 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, the third largest number on record.

More than 6.6 million Americans filed claims for the week ending April 4, which the Labor Department revised up by 9,000 from the figure it initially released. Over the past month, about 22 million Americans have filed jobless claims.

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund said we’re on the brink of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

*Figures have been seasonally adjusted.

The state with the highest number of unemployment claims last week was California, which has consistently topped the list. However, the number of claims in the state since the week of April 4 decreased, with the Labor Department noting that there were “fewer layoffs in the construction and manufacturing industries.”

*Figures have not been seasonally adjusted. Week of April 11 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.

States are the ones who are paying out these benefits and they’re strained, reported Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino.

Jared Walczak, a researcher with the Tax Foundation, said federal figures indicate some of the hardest hit states, like California, New York and Texas, could be running low on funds in a matter of weeks.

Colorado had the highest percent increase, with its unemployment claims rising more than 126%. Last week, the state had more than 105,000 residents file for unemployment benefits.

*Figures have not been seasonally adjusted. Calculations based on the percentage increase between advance claims for week ending April 11 and week ending April 4.

These figures show a stark contrast with Colorado’s unemployment data just a few months ago: in December, Colorado’s unemployment rate reached a historic low of 2.5%.

In an address on April 6, Governor Jared Polis extended the state’s stay-at-home order until at least April 26.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.