Nearly 3.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department announced Thursday, bringing the seven-week total since the coronavirus crisis hit to more than 33 million.
The report shows that job losses continue to slow, but the numbers are staggering by any measure. “That’s one in five jobs likely gone in seven weeks,” Nick Bunker of Indeed Hiring Lab told MarketWatch. “The outlook for the labor market remains frightening. Not only does the pace of layoffs remain at unprecedented levels, but hiring intentions remain depressed.”
The April jobs report, due Friday morning, is expected to show job losses of about 21 million and an unemployment rate in the neighborhood of 16%. “Both numbers would be highs on records back to the late 1930s and 40s,” The Wall Street Journal said Thursday. “The previous peak unemployment rate was 10.8% in 1982. The largest monthly jobs loss, 1.96 million, occurred at the end of World War II.”