Up to 6.6 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits last week, 5 million more than anticipated. The new figure shoots up to 16 million requests in the last three weeks and begins to reflect the strong impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The alarms went off on March 28, when it was known that up to 3.28 million citizens had applied for unemployment benefits, multiplying by more than ten the 282,000 unemployed registered during the previous seven days and reflecting that economic activity in the country is completely frozen.
Never before has such an astronomical number of requests for subsidies been reached, which far exceeds the previous record of October 1982, set at 695,000 requests. It also far exceeded 1.7 million expected.
The US job-creation machine has come to a sudden halt and 701,000 jobs have already been destroyed in March.
The figure contrasts with the 273,000 jobs that were generated in February, although it does not reflect the entire crisis as containment measures and business closings began in the final stretch of the month. In any case, it far exceeds expectations, which predicted the destruction of 100,000 jobs.
Unemployment in the world’s leading economy has gone from 3.4% to 4.4%, a figure that is still low but that will increase. The growth rate of this percentage is the third highest in history. Most experts say that the level of unemployment will exceed double digits and it is feared that it could exceed the record for the Great Depression, set at 25%.