A staggering 16.8 million Americans lost their jobs in just three weeks in a measure of how fast the coronavirus has brought world economies to their knees.
Numbers released Thursday by the US government showed that 6.6 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, on top of more than 10 million in the two weeks before that.
That amounts to about 1 in 10 American workers the biggest, fastest pileup of job losses since the world’s largest economy began keeping records in 1948.
During the Great Recession it took 44 weeks — roughly 10 months — for unemployment claims to go as high as they now have in less than a month, AP reports.
Helen Sullivan (@helenrsullivan)
Devastating US job loss figures from AP:
- 16.8 million Americans have lost their jobs in three weeks
- In the Great Depression, it took 44 weeks, or 10 months for there to be as many unemployment claims
– The figure represents 1 in 10 American workers
And still more job cuts are expected. The US unemployment rate in April could hit 15% a number not seen since the end of the Great Depression.
The US, the Federal Reserve announced it will provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans targeted toward both households and businesses.
The head of the International Monetary Fund warned that the global economy is headed for the worst recession since the Depression.
The United Nations labor organisation said the equivalent of 195 million full-time jobs could be lost in the second quarter, while the aid organisation Oxfam International estimated half a billion people worldwide could be pushed into poverty.