Washington, 21 May 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US weekly unemployment claims came in at about 2.4 million, the Department of Labor said on Thursday, as the coronavirus crisis continued to batter the economy.
The latest numbers show that some 39 million US residents have filed for benefits since mid-March, when the pandemic caused large segments of the economy to stall.
The news comes as all US states have begun the process of reopening and the White House has shifted its focus towards restarting the economy.
Unemployment is officially at 14.7 per cent, but is believed to be much higher, due to a reporting lag and continued large scale lay-offs.
The job losses come despite a loans and grant scheme for businesses known as the Payroll Protection Program which was initially allocated some 350 billion dollars by Congress before lawmakers then added another 320 billion.
US national debt has ballooned as a result, with the Treasury Department announcing plans for record borrowing.
Prior to the pandemic, upwards of 150 million people were employed in the US.