More than 6.6 millions Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, according to new numbers released by the Labor Department, marking a record number for the second week in a row amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With 3.3 million people filing for unemployment for the week previous, there have been about 10 million Americans who have marked themselves as unemployed in just the past two weeks. This marks a grim record for the U.S., which prior to the coronavirus crisis last month marked its worst week for unemployment in 1982 with 695,000 filings, as per The New York Times.
"The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims," the Labor Department noted at the top of its weekly report. "Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus. States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries."
As President Donald Trump's administration tries to avoid a massive recession, Congress passed the CARES Act $2 trillion stimulus package Friday, which includes individual payments of up to $1,200 to help American taxpayers during the coronavirus outbreak and billions of dollars of assistance in additional unemployment benefits as well as bail-outs for both small businesses impacted by the pandemic as well big businesses such as airlines and other big corporations that have taken huge hits in recent weeks.
Also included in the act is $100 billion for hospitals responding to the coronavirus, which will be used to help provide health care workers with adequate personal protective equipment as well as the resources to treat the influx of patients.0comments
"No economic policy can fully end the hardship so long as the public health requires that we put so much of our commerce on ice," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor prior to its passage. "This isn't even a stimulus package. It is emergency relief. Emergency relief. That's what this is."
Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images, Getty