The labor market continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost 3.2 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance last week, reported CNN.
The total has now surpassed 33.5 million unemployment claims since mid-March, when stay-at-home orders first began. That amount is equal to 21% of the labor force, the outlet reported.
The good news is that this was the fifth straight week that the number of initial claims fell. The last week of March saw the largest amount with over 6.9 people initially filing for unemployment.
Experts believe that initial claims will fall below the one million mark by the middle of June.
“We’re very hopeful that June will see the beginnings of a rebound as states begin to reopen,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told CNBC.
The official jobs report for April is expected to be released on Friday and economists are predicting a deficit of 21.5 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 16%. If those figures ring true, it would make April 2020 the worst month in American history, according to the outlet.
To put it in perspective, two months ago the country had an unemployment rate of 3.5%, a 50-year low, according to the New York Times.
In seven weeks, unemployment has soared to levels not seen since World War Two and has topped the prior record of 10.8% in 1982.
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