39 Million Americans Sought Jobless Aid Since Start of Coronavirus Pandemic

Another 2.4 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance during the week ending on May 16, the Department of Labor said Thursday morning in its latest report. This statistic was just 249,000 less than the previous week, when 2.981 million Americans filed unemployment claims, according to adjusted data. While the number of new filings has decreased for seven weeks in a row, the number of Americans filing jobless claims has reached almost 39 million in the past nine weeks, when the coronavirus pandemic crisis began.

The unemployment reports give a good idea of how the job market has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, as states across the country issued "stay at home" orders to shutter non-essential businesses. In April, the economy shed a record 20.5 million jobs, and the unemployment rate tripled to 14.7 percent, reports Business Insider. While the number of initial claims is slowing as states reopen economies, some economists are worried that the decrease isn't falling fast enough. Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson predicted the number of initial claims per will not drop below 1 million until August based on the current rate. During the Great Recession, the worst week saw 665,000 people file for claims.

The unemployment rate is expected to worsen in June. Even Kevin Hassett, a senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, told CNN Friday morning the unemployment rate might hut 22 percent or 23 percent by the end of this month and continue to climb into next. He predicted June would be a "turning point" and that Trump was set to agree on another economic stimulus package "sooner rather than later." Hassett also produced unemployed and furloughed workers would return to work sooner than expected thanks to moves by politicians and the Federal Reserve.

On Friday, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on April employment broken down by states. In April, Nevada had the single highest unemployment rate at 28.2 percent, followed by Michigan at 22.7 percent and Hawaii at 22.3 percent. Nevada's unemployment rate skyrocketed by 21.3 percent over the previous month. Prices climbed at least 10 percent from a month earlier in Nevada, Hawaii, Michigan and 17 other states. Connecticut had the lowest unemployment rate, with 7.9 percent for April.

At the moment, there is still no new law providing Americans with a second stimulus check, following the one sent out in mid-April. House Democrats passed the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act earlier this month, and it includes a stimulus payment of up to $6,000 for qualifying households. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put any new stimulus legislation on hold, with the Senate even going on recess for a week.