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Because of the Chinese coronavirus, new jobless claims totaled to 36.5M since mid-March

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New applications for unemployment benefits totaled over 2.9 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Economists had projected 2.7 million new jobless claims.

The number of workers seeking aid remains historically high but has dropped considerably from the nearly 7 million claims that were filed the week ending March 28.

Since the economy halted in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, 36.5 million workers have filed for unemployment benefits, an unprecedented figure since the federal government began tracking unemployment in the 1930s.

Jobless claims have skyrocketed. This week last year, there were only 217,000 new claims made. Similarly, more than 25 million workers claimed benefits in all programs for the week ending April 25. That figure was 1.6 million for the same week in 2019.

In California, the Labor Department shows, nearly a third of workers, 27.7%, were unemployed for the week ending April 25. In Michigan, nearly a quarter were jobless, 23.1%, for the same week.

The largest job losses last week occurred in Connecticut, where over 298,000 filed for benefits, a figure that is not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday warned that the job crisis could cause lasting damage.

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