USA unemployment claims hit record amid coronavirus lockdown

Coronavirus closures pushing new US jobless claims sky high

New unemployment claims surged to a record high last week, topping 3 million.

Almost 16,000 Nebraskans filed unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, according to non seasonally adjusted figures from the Department of Labor.

The previous record was set in 1982, when unemployment claims hit 695,000.

The numbers show that in Iowa, initial claims zoomed past 40,000.

The drop came after New York, California, and several other states ordered a complete shutdown of all non-essential establishments as a social distancing measure to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

The Labor Department reported California's claims at 186,809 last week, and New York's at 80,334, with each of these trailing the almost 379,000 claims filed in Pennsylvania. And in NY, the domestic epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, a rush of people seeking jobless claims last week crashed the state's labor department website. To put that number in perspective, during the week of March 14, applications totaled 659 and at the peak of the Great Recession there were only two weeks when more than 2,000 Vermonters applied for unemployment insurance.

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