The coronavirus wreaked havoc on the US labour market, with more than 3.2 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 21 – nearly five times higher than the previous weekly record set some four decades ago, the Labour Department reported on Thursday, APA reports citing Sputnik.
“In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000,” the department said in a press release. “This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982.
Compared with the previous week, 3,001,000 additional Americans applied for unemployment benefits, according to seasonally adjusted Labor Department data, the release said.
A $2.2 trillion emergency economic rescue package approved by the Senate Wednesday night will provide unemployment insurance benefits equaling about $24 per hour for four months.
On a 47-47 vote, the Senate defeated an amendment that would have reduced benefits, despite warnings from several lawmakers that employees earning less than $24 an hour prior to being furloughed would have little incentive to return to work, at least until the four-month benefit period expires.