A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country. The Labor Department’s report Thursday was one of the first official indicators of how many people have suddenly been forced out of work nationally. The staggering claims figure was well above the levels seen during the darkest days of the Great Recession, and the worst isn’t over yet, economic forecasters say.
The crisis has cut a giant swath through the energy, travel, transportation, hotel and restaurant sectors, with large and small companies suddenly forced to furlough employees. States that depend heavily on tourism, such as Nevada and Florida, as well as oil-and-gas towns like Midland, Texas, will be especially hard hit, but the damage will be felt almost everywhere, according to a Brookings Institution report.
Pictured above is Labor Sec. Eugene Scalia.