The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurt the U.S economy, and now we have data on unemployment claims. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has been published Thursday morning, reaching a record of 3.283 million for the week ended March 21. This is way above expectations of 1.64 million claims. The number also shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the previous all-time record of 695,000 in October 1982.
“Millions of Americans are filing for benefits, and that means the economy is not just staring down at the abyss, it has fallen off the cliff and down into the depths of recession,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, said according to a report by cnn. “How far it goes is anyone’s guess, but certainly close to 10 million people are out of work, and this means the official unemployment rate will match the 10% threshold of pain reached in the 1981-82 and 2007-09 recessions.”
Despite the higher than expected unemployment claims and the unceasing spread of the COVID-19, the financial markets continued to recover for the second day in row, after late Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously passed the largest economic stimulus package in American history. Now, the House of Representatives is set to take up the measure on Friday.
“This is a wartime level of investment into our nation,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday morning when discussing the bill.
“Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect, but we believe the legislation has improved significantly,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Among the many provisions in the 880 page bill are $1,200 government checks for individuals making under $75,000 a year and an expansion of unemployment insurance.