A record 3.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus crisis forced layoffs around the US, the feds said Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted total reported by the US Labor Department shattered expectations as well as the previous record of 695,000 initial jobless claims in a single week, which was set in 1982.
The staggering number for the week ending March 21 was more than 3 million higher than the prior week’s total of 281,000.
States cited the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in reporting figures to the feds, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report. Services industries continued to take a hit while other sectors such as health care, arts, entertainment and transportation also contributed to the jump, officials said.