Unemployment continues to skyrocket amid the coronavirus pandemic. CNN anchor and author Jim Sciutto reported the latest round of jobless claims via Twitter on Thursday, which currently total a whopping 42.6 million filings. Almost 1.9 million U.S. citizens filed unemployment claims during the last week of May, Sciutto reported.
He also added how continued jobless claims, which are those who file for unemployment claims for at least two consecutive weeks, were up to 21.5 million, almost 1.5 million more than had been expected. By May 23, nearly 39 million people had already filed for unemployment, which was roughly nine weeks into the coronavirus outbreak. In an effort to slow the spread, Stay at Home orders were issued, which led to the temporary closing of numerous non-essential businesses.
Nearly 1.9 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week, bringing total claims to 42.6 million since March.
Continued jobless claims, which count workers who filed for benefits for at least two weeks a row, unexpectedly rose to 21.5 million, vs 20.1 million expected— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) June 4, 2020
As millions file jobless claims, it's overwhelmed state-run unemployment offices, leading to some speculation that the real number could be higher. The finance app DoNotPay had even developed a method of helping people file for unemployment who were having trouble, which was tailored to each state's unique system. CEO Joshua Browder told TODAY in mid-April that he developed the tool because "government systems are stuck in the 1960s."
In May, some Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned that the actual number of unemployed people may end up dwarfing those from the Great Depression. At the time, unemployed was at 14.7 percent, meaning it was already the highest level since the 1930s. Speaking to Fox News, Mnuchin said that the real unemployment rate could likely be closer to 25 percent. "This is no fault of American business, this is no fault of American workers, this is a result of a virus," he explained. "You're going to have a very, very bad second quarter." He also cautioned that the numbers would likely "get worse before they get better."
As a method of keeping the economy afloat, the U.S. passed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which allotted citizens a one-time $1,200 payment, plus $500 for each dependent. There's been widespread discussion, and numerous bills introduced, about a second stimulus package, though only one has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. However, Congress did pass a reform bill for the Paycheck Protection Act, which would allow small business owners more flexibility with their stimulus loans — assuming it gets signed into law by President Donald Trump.