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Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It adds to the staggering 10 million jobless claims in recent weeks — by far the sharpest spikes in American history — as the world economy has ground to a halt in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

  • The once-again colossal number of filings was worse than the 5 million that Wall Street had expected.
  • Last week's unemployment claim numbers, which government data had pegged at 6.65 million, were revised upward to 6.87 million — the highest ever recorded.

The big picture: The data lags by a week, so while a large portion of the economic shutdown is now evident over the last three weeks, there may still be more huge numbers yet to come.

  • The $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package opened the door to a surge of new unemployment filings, allowing the self-employed and independent contractors to claim benefits.

Go deeper

911's digital makeover

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

The big picture: U.S. emergency communications have remained stubbornly analog, but Congress is about to take another run at dragging 911 into the digital age.

Biden enlists business leaders in campaign for vax mandates

President Joe Biden at a meeting with business leaders Sept. 15, 2021. Photo: Oliver Contretas/Getty Images

President Biden convened a meeting of top business leaders Wednesday to build support for a sweeping vaccine mandate that will affect most of America's workers. The message: Vaccines work, and the stalled uptake is holding back the economy.

Why it matters: As vaccine rates have flattened across the country, business leaders have the power to impact their employees’ decisions. Many corporate leaders had been looking for stronger federal guidance to lean on.

49 mins ago - Health

COVID cases are falling, but deaths are rising

Data: N.Y. Times; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The pace of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. is beginning to slow — a potential sign that the states hit hardest by the Delta wave may be starting to turn things around.

Yes, but: Deaths are still rising, and it’s still too early to know whether schools might drive cases back up again.