16.8M Americans Thrown Out of Work as Economic Toll Rises
NEW YORK (AP) — A staggering 16.8 million Americans have been thrown onto the unemployment rolls in just three weeks, underscoring the speed with which the coronavirus outbreak has brought world economies to a near standstill.
Meanwhile, world leaders and health officials are fervently warning that hard-won gains in the fight against the scourge must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing during Easter weekend, and authorities across Europe banned holiday travel and set up police roadblocks
Numbers released Thursday by the world’s largest economy showed that 6.6 million American workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, on top of more than 10 million in the two weeks before that.
That means more than 1 in 10 U.S. workers have been forced out of a job since the crisis took hold.
The real numbers could be even higher because the surge of jobless claims has overwhelmed state unemployment offices around the country, and some people have been unable to get through by telephone or website. And still, more job cuts are expected.
The U.S. unemployment rate could hit 15% — a number last seen at the tail end of the Depression — when the figures for April come out.