As Jobless Claims Surge by 3 Million, Unemployment May Soon Be Highest Since Financial Crisis

U.S. jobless claims hit record levels on Thursday as economists warned that the unemployment rate could reach its highest levels since the financial crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. New data released by the Department of Labor this morning revealed that 3.3 million initial claims for unemployment benefits were made in the week ending March 21.

The Labor Department said the spike in jobless claims was “the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims” in history, up from a previous high of 695,000 in 1982.

Speaking to Newsweek about the spike in jobless claims last week, Ioana Marinescu, an assistant professor of economics at SP2, said: “Not all of these new unemployment claims are simple layoffs. Some are temporary layoffs and furloughs.”