New jobless claims soar to record 3.3 million as coronavirus wreaks havoc on economy

Workers claiming new unemployment benefits soared last week to 3.3 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday, as the coronavirus forced employers to lay off staff.

The number of new claims is the largest in the country’s history, as nearly 70,000 have been infected by the virus in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Thursday’s total easily eclipsed the previous record high of weekly jobless claims from September 1982, when 695,000 people were laid off.

New claims for unemployment had jumped by 70,000 to 281,000 the week before, but otherwise claims had hovered near historically low levels
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