Updated May 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

Another 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

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Data: U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Another 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Why it matters: Jobless claims have swelled to roughly 33.5 million in the past seven weeks since coronavirus-driven lockdowns began — and, even as states begin to open back up, workers are still losing their jobs at a staggering rate.

Between the lines: Last week's numbers are the lowest level of claims since the crisis began, but even though the pace of layoffs are slowing, we're still seeing historically and painfully high unemployment applications on a weekly basis.

  • Before the coronavirus, the record number of weekly claims was 695,000 — back in 1982.

By the numbers: One notable figure shows how many Americans have yet to return to work after initially filing for unemployment.

  • Continuing claims — which shows how many Americans remain on unemployment rolls within two weeks of first applying — rose to 22.6 million.

The bottom line: The coronavirus is ravaging the job market in a way that's never been seen before in U.S. history.

  • In less than two months, roughly 20% of the labor force has lost their job.

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