More than 6.6 million workers applied for unemployment benefits in the United States last week, in addition to the almost 10 million who had done so in the previous two weeks due to the coronavirus crisis, the Labor Department reported Thursday. .
The figure was slightly lower than the 6.867 million – an unprecedented number – the previous week, but still exceeded analysts’ expectations, which had calculated the loss of some 5.25 million jobs.
The average number of requests in the last four weeks, which compensates for the volatility of the weekly data, rose to an unprecedented level of 4.266 million, and according to the government report, in the week that ended on March 28, there were 7.455 million people receiving unemployment benefits, another unprecedented figure in the United States.
The data on unemployment claims does not reflect the whole reality of the labor market, since independent workers and people employed without contracts do not have the ability to access these benefits.
Last week, the government chaired by Donald Trump reported a jump in the unemployment rate to 4.4% in March, from 3.5% in February, due to the severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan body, has pointed out that the unemployment rate could reach 12% at the end of the second quarter of the year, and that the economy will go into recession.
To try to counteract the effects of this pandemic, Congress has approved the largest fiscal stimulus package in history, worth more than $ 2 trillion, which includes expanding unemployment coverage, direct cash transfer to multi-million dollar households and funds to subsidize small and medium-sized businesses.
The United States surpassed Spain on Wednesday as the second country in the world with the most deaths from COVID-19 with 14,817, only behind Italy, which has 17,669, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The North American country reached 14,817 after adding almost 2,000 new deaths in the last 24 hours, while Spain recorded 14,792, 25 fewer.
More than half of the deceased – some 8,100- are concentrated in the New York area (New York states, New Jersey and Connecticut), the great epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States. In New York City alone, 4,571 people have died.