5.2 million more Americans file for unemployment amid COVID-19 crisis

(WASHINGTON) — An additional 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

This brings the total to more than 20 million people who have already applied for unemployment insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as non-essential businesses across the country have been forced to shutter.

The adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending April 4 was 8.2%, the DOL said, which “marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.”

The previous high was 7% in May of 1975.

Moody’s Investor Services is forecasting the unemployment rate to spike even higher and “average between 8.8% and 16.2% in the second quarter” as a result of business closures and the scaling back of work.

“Job losses have so far been concentrated in sectors directly impacted by quarantine restrictions,” Moody’s Senior Vice President Robard Williams said in a statement. “However, as shutdowns continue, job losses will likely extend into other areas of the labor market, such as business and professional services where firms may begin to see lower revenues from a second order pull back in demand.”

The rampant unemployment will likely further cut back household spending in the U.S., which already saw a steep decline in March, according to Williams.

Meanwhile, as the unemployment filings skyrocket, many Americans report ongoing struggles in applying for unemployment insurance across the country.

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