Updated May 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Another 3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

Another 2.98 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Why it matters: The coronavirus is still forcing a historically high number of Americans out of work. In two months alone, more than 36 million people have filed jobless claims.

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

Between the lines: The pace of new applications has slowed from its peak in March, but the weekly numbers are still way higher than before businesses shuttered to contain the outbreak.

  • There are more jobless workers that haven't been able to get their application through. State unemployment offices are racing to get through an avalanche of unemployment filings — with states like New York processing more claims in the past few months than they have in years.
  • Measuring the backlog is "like trying to measure the ocean, it's constantly moving," New York Labor Department commissioner Roberta Reardon said in a press call yesterday.
  • While more Americans than ever before are eligible for unemployment, including gig workers, some states are just beginning to scale up to accept those applications.

By the numbers: The total number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits — after initially applying — rose, bringing the total to a record 22.8 million.

  • A decrease in this figure would be an indication that Americans are returning back to work.

The bottom line: Goldman Sachs estimates the unemployment rate will hit 25%, matching the peak level of joblessness during the Great Depression.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department late Tuesday following reports of police kettling in protesters on Manhattan Bridge.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.