US National

Tsunami of jobless claims filed; quadruple previous 1982 record after mass COVID-19 shutdowns

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, takes questions from the press at a coronavirus update briefing Saturday, March 14, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

(USA Features) As expected, tidal waves of unemployment claims have begun slamming into state offices following mass shutdowns of businesses following the outbreak of coronavirus.

And the early figures are nothing short of unprecedented.

According to The Associated Press, some 3.3 million Americans who have lost jobs in the wake of coronavirus-related business closings have now filed unemployment claims, which is quadruple the previous record set in 1982.

“The pace of layoffs is sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession,” the AP reported.

“Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms, and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have closed factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they’re cutting jobs to save money,” the newswire added.

Early estimates by economists say that the national unemployment rate to skyrocket to around 13 percent, or 3 points higher than the 10 percent mark at the height of the 2009 Great Recession.

In early February, the unemployment rate in President Trump’s economy had reached a 50-year low of 3.5 percent, even as the economy grew steadily.

But now some economists believe that the April-June quarter of the year could see the economy contract at its steepest rate ever — approaching 30 percent.

The AP noted further that many people have been unable to file unemployment claims yet because state websites have crashed due to traffic and offices are shuttered to the public.

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