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World 3.3 million seek US jobless aid, nearly 5 times earlier high

16:16  26 march  2020
16:16  26 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Nearly 3 . 3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U . S . economy.

The data from early February suggested the 13-month-old U . S . recession was deepening, a The number of unemployed still on the benefits rolls after drawing an initial week of aid surged 170,000 It was the highest reading on records dating to 1967 and it took the insured jobless rate to 3.7 percent

FILE - In this March 17, 2020 file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas.   A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this March 17, 2020 file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — nearly five times the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

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Early Returns. U . S . Jobless Claims Surge to a Record 3.28 Million : Chart. By. The figures far exceed the previous high of 695,000 set in 1982.

The US Department of Labour released its latest unemployment report on Thursday, which economic forecasters had already predicted would include historically high figures due to millions of businesses having been forced to shutter their doors to the The US began tracking initial jobless claims in 1967.

The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is inflicting on the economy. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.

Layoffs are sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession. Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms, and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have closed factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they're cutting jobs to save money.

As job losses mount, some economists say the nation's unemployment rate could approach 13% by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%.

“What seemed impossible just two weeks ago is now reality,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economics, a consulting firm. “The US economy will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever.”

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The economic deterioration has been swift. As recently as February, the unemployment rate was at a 50-year low of 3.5%. And the economy was growing steadily if modestly. Yet by the April-June quarter of the year, some economists think the economy will shrink at its steepest annual pace ever — a contraction that could reach 30%.

FILE - In this March 18, 2020 file photo, visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns in New York. A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this March 18, 2020 file photo, visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns in New York. A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

In its report Thursday, the Labor Department said 3.283 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, up from 282,000 during the previous week. Yet many people who have lost jobs in recent weeks have been unable to file for unemployment aid because state websites and phone systems have been overwhelmed by a crush of applicants and have frozen up.

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This would mark the highest level of unemployment ever seen in US history, dwarfing the previous record of nearly 700,000 claims in 1982. Unemployment websites around the country are crashing under the weight of applications, as newly- jobless Americans struggle to access much-needed funds.

Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 5 .73 percent from 1948 until 2020, reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent The US unemployment rate decreased to 3. 5 percent in February of 2020 from 3.6 percent in the previous month while markets had expected it to be unchanged at 3.6 percent.

That logjam suggests that Thursday's report actually understates the magnitude of job cuts last week. So does the fact that workers who are not on company payrolls — gig workers, free-lancers, the self-employed — aren't currently eligible for unemployment benefits even though in many cases they're no longer able to earn money.

With layoffs surging, a significant expansion of unemployment benefits for the millions who will lose jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak was included in an economic relief bill nearing final approval in Congress. One provision in the bill would provide an extra $600 a week on top of the unemployment aid that states provide. Another would extend 13 additional weeks of benefits beyond the six months of jobless aid that most states offer.

The new legislation would also extend unemployment benefits, for the first time, to gig workers and others who are not on company payrolls.

Separate legislation passed last week provides up to $1 billion to states to enhance their ability to process claims. But that money will take time to be disbursed.

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Initial Jobless Claims: +3M to 3.28M vs. +1M consensus, 282K prior. Continuous Claims: +101K to 1.803M vs. +1.702M prior (revised). RSM US Chief Economist says the report implies the April unemployment report will rise to ~ 5 .75% from 3. 5 %.

First- time claims for state unemployment benefits were expected to total 210,000 for the most recent week, following Jobless claims fall to the lowest in nearly 49 years. Job openings hit an all- time high of 6.9 million in July. Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job

In California, claims for unemployment benefits more than tripled last week to 187,000. In New York, they rose by a factor of five to 80,334. Nationwide, about 2.25% of the entire workforce applied for jobless aid last week. In Nevada, the figure was 6.8%, in Rhode Island 7.5%.

Jessy Morancy of Hollywood, Florida, was laid off Friday from her job as a wheelchair attendant and customer service agent at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Morancy, 29, called the state unemployment office Monday to try to file for unemployment benefits but encountered just a recorded message telling her to call back later.

She was also concerned that even a full unemployment benefit of $275 a week would be less than half of what she earned at her job and insufficient to provide for her children, ages 10 and 7.

“I’m still in a state of shock,” Morancy said.

She said she has heard that airline employees might continue to receive salaries if Congress provides financial assistance to the airlines. Yet even so, it’s not clear that employees like her who work for contractors — Eulen America, in her case — would be eligible.

“If these companies are going to get a bailout, why not include us?” Morancy said.

Pictures - Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world

Even for those able to file a claim, the benefits will take time to kick in. It typically takes two to three weeks before applicants receive any money. State agencies must first contact their former employers to verify their work and earnings history. Only then can the employee’s weekly unemployment benefits be calculated.

Worsening the problem, most state agencies that handle unemployment claims are operating at historically low funding levels and staffing that are intended to handle a trickle of claims. Just weeks ago, the job market was in the strongest shape it had been in decades.

Kim Boldrini-Sen, 41, has also struggled to even file her claim. She has tried in two states: In Connecticut, where she works as an acupuncturist in a private practice, and in New York, where she lives and has her own acupuncture business.

In Connecticut, she thought her application had been submitted. But when she returned last week to re-file as applicants are required to do each week, she found there was no record of her initial filing. After taking an hour to re-file, she received a pop-up notice that she was ineligible to do so online.

In New York, the state's website repeatedly crashed when she was halfway through filling out her request. When she finally managed to press submit, she received a pop-up saying she had to file over the phone. That hasn't worked well, either.

"I've called at all hours of the day, she said. "That's been my life for a week, and I still can't get through to anyone."

On Monday, the New York State Department of Labor tweeted, "If you have been unable to get through our phone and/or online system this week, please keep trying."

"We are working as hard as we can to ensure that all benefits are paid and appreciate your patience," the agency said on Twitter.

Ellen Zentner, an economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a note to clients that 17 million jobs could be lost through May -- twice the entire 8.7 million jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. She expects the unemployment rate to average 12.8% in the April-June quarter, which would be the highest level since the 1930s.

Still, Zentner also expects the economy to start recovering by the second half of the year. It will take time for things to return to something close to normal, she projects: The unemployment rate could still top 5% at the end of next year.

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MAFS finale leaves Nine with an uncertain future .
With MAFS coming to a close, has Nine's gravy train ended?Seven News dominated the news slot, though interest in COVID-19 has peaked and is starting to fade. The best example for this is a 458,000 drop last night (988,000) for Nine’s special, from the previous week’s 1.44 million. Last night’s special came after the series high for MAFS added 186,000 viewers, so the attraction to updates on the virus are clearly waning.

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