Clearer picture emerges of economy (and it’s not pretty)

One in five Americans who had been working in February are now unemployed, officials reported today. The jobless rate has soared amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

By

National News

May 7, 2020 - 9:48 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 3.2 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the business shutdowns caused by the viral outbreak deepened the worst U.S. economic catastrophe in decades.

Roughly 33.5 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the seven weeks since the coronavirus began forcing millions of companies to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is the equivalent of one in five Americans who had been employed back in February, when the unemployment rate had reached a 50-year low of just 3.5%.

The Labor Department’s report today suggests that layoffs, while still breathtakingly high, are steadily declining after sharp spikes in late March and early April. Initial claims for unemployment aid have now fallen for five straight weeks, from a peak of nearly 6.9 million during the week that ended March 28.

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