- Jobless claims over the past five weeks have totaled more than 26 million, far worse than anything the U.S. has seen.
- One measure, comparing those getting benefits to the total labor force, shows an 11% “insured employment rate.” That, in turn, points to a 23% overall jobless rate, according to one economist.
- Expectations for the April unemployment rate are in the 10% to 15% range.
As the economic shutdown associated with coronavirus prevention measures nears the completion of its first full calendar month, a clearer picture is emerging of just how hard the hit has been to U.S. workers.
An economy that had been near full employment just two months ago is now in its most dire straits since the Great Depression. New filings for weekly jobless claims, reported Thursday, added to the gloom with another 4.4 million applying for unemployment insurance.
That brought the five-week total to more than 26 million. While bad enough on its own, it helped to complete a picture that likely will show the U.S. with its highest unemployment rate in about 87 years.
How high that number will get is still unclear when the Labor Department reports the April nonfarm payrolls data in two weeks.