As lockdown and movement restrictions imposed in an effort to control Coronavirus pandemic continue to devastate the US and global economy, the number of people filling for unemployment benefits in the US continues to increase in millions for the fifth consecutive week.
With more people loosing their means of livelihood as businesses remain closed as a result of movement restrictions imposed across the country, the number of those seeking for financial relief through unemployment benefit has soared.
According to the data released by the U.S Department of Labour, over 4.4 million unemployment claims were filed in the week ended 18th April. This brings the total number of jobless claims since 14th March to 26.4 million people.
This figure represents more than 15% of the entire U.S work force. However, the weekly unemployment benefit claims appear to be slowing after reaching as high as 6.9 million in the last week of March.
Source: US Department of Labour
The drop in the number of weekly claim points to the direction that the worst days of lay offs might be over. The last five weeks recorded the most sudden surge in jobless claims since 1967, when the department of Labor started tracking the data.
Prior to Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, the weekly unemployment claims in the US hovered below 200,000 on average.
According to Richard Flynn, UK managing director at financial services firm Charles Schwab, “while this week’s 4.4 million jobless claims are staggering, there are signs that the pace of layoffs has reached its peak”
Hawaii, a tourism-based economy saw 26% of it’s work force file for unemployment in the past five weeks. Tourism is one the hardest hit industry since the outbreak of the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor told reporters that in his state, 1,000 people is waiting “just to take the incoming unemployment calls. That’s how high the volume is and they still can’t keep up”.
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As more people in the US file for jobless claims, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to halt immigration into The US for 60 days in a bid to protect American jobs as the country battles Covid-19 pandemic.
Announcing the signing in a tweet The White House said, “this will ensure unemployed Americans will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens”
President @realDonaldTrump just signed a proclamation temporarily suspending immigration into the United States.
This will ensure unemployed Americans will be FIRST in line for jobs as our economy re-opens and preserve our healthcare resources for American patients.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 22, 2020
US has the highest number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the world. it has 847,985 confirmed cases with 47,178 deaths according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The US has also conducted more Covid-19 tests than any country in the world.