A staggering 3.28 million Americans filed unemployment claims for the week ending March 21, far outpacing the previous record of 695,000 claims set in October, 1982. The number of jobless claims filed during the Great Recession hit a peak of 665,000 in March 2009.
The number of claims was about twice as high as expected, as most economists had predicted they would soar by 1.5 million.
Making the outlook even more bleak, some economists believe that the 3.3 million number vastly undercounts those who are seeking unemployment benefits. According to Politico, “laid-off workers have been calling into state unemployment agencies much faster than the agencies can process their requests.”
“There is reason to believe, that even the 3.283 million figure understates the case,” Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corporation told Politico. “Many states have reported their systems for processing claims have crashed under the weight of unprecedented volumes.”
Though stunning, the 3.3 million number is not a surprise considering that hotels in Las Vegas have closed, international travel has been suspended, Disney World closed its theme parks and numerous states have issued stay-at-home orders prohibiting Americans from travelling except for essentials. America has never before witnessed an intentional shut down of its economy in response to a crisis. And this shut down is occurring worldwide.
Thankfully, for most Americans, help is on the way. After scant debate on Friday, the House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that will send $1,200 to most Americans who file their taxes individually, and $3,400 directly into the pockets of families of four. President Trump was expected to sign the bill into law on Friday afternoon
Americans can anticipate their direct payment to show up in their back account automatically within the next couple of weeks.
During this time of financial difficulty and the coronavirus disease, if you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to one of our on-staff licensed or pastoral counselors for a free, one-time counseling consultation. You can do so by calling 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or filling out a counseling consultation request form here.
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