NBC NEWS -More than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to new data released Thursday.
The massive spike in new jobless claims comes as nationwide lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have kept Americans from their workplaces, grinding businesses to a halt and forcing many companies to shutter or to lay off staff.
Just 282,000 people filed for unemployment in the previous week, before lockdowns began, according to the Department of Labor.
Thursday’s numbers are just “the tip of the iceberg,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, noting that these figures do not even include data from this week.
“Businesses cannot plan for this kind of sudden stop of cash flow,” she told NBC News. “This isn’t a ‘rainy day fund’ situation.”
California alone is seeing jobless claims of more than 100,000 a day, Gov. Gavin Newson said Wednesday.
“We just passed the 1 million mark, in terms of the number of claims, just since March 13,” Newsom said.
Stock futures had rallied overnight after the Senate passed a historic $2 trillion economic rescue package, but all three major averages tumbled after the jobs numbers were released.
The numbers come just hours after the Senate passed a historic $2 trillion economic rescue package, which contains specific measures to address the spike in unemployment claims.
“It’s beyond anything we have ever seen. It’s the speed that is so painful,” said Swonk.
The highest recorded number of unemployment claims came in October 1982, when 695,000 people filed for benefits.