US unemployment neared 40 million today as the economic crisis in the world’s largest economy worsened.
Stats from the Labor Department show claims hit 2.4 million last week, bringing the total of new claims to more than 38 million in nine weeks.
Torsten Slok, economist for Deutsche Bank, said: "The hemorrhaging has continued."
Unemployment in the US has increased over the past two months since the coronavirus pandemic struck. A broad shutdown of the country in mid-March to contain the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the worst jobs market since the Great Depression and has undermined the broader economy.
Businesses have been laying off workers to reduce costs and, unlike the UK, the US does not have a furlough scheme in place to protect workers.
A recent household survey from the Census Bureau suggests that the pain is widespread. Almost 50% of adults said they or a member of their household had lost employment income since mid-March. Nearly 40% expected the loss to continue over the next four weeks.
There is increasing concern that many jobs are not coming back, even for those who consider themselves laid off temporarily.
But claims have been gradually declining since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28.
This week stats showed jobless claims in the UK soared by nearly 70% in April.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased by the most since records began in April to reach almost 2.1 million.
There are increasing fears that the furlough scheme introduced by the government might be delaying inevitable redundancies.