4.4 million Americans applied for jobless benefits. Millions of Americans sought unemployment benefits last week in a continuation of a historic labour-market decline triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The White House and Congress have tried to arrest the downturn, but the epidemic has kept pushing Americans out of the labour force.
Another 4.4 million people filed jobless claims in the U.S. last week, bringing the staggering five-week total to more than 26 million. The relentless increase in the unemployed has intensified the debate over when to lift restrictions that have helped halt the virus’s rapid spread but placed the economy in a Stranglehold.
Watch: Jobless Benefits in the US
State agencies have scrambled to handle the overwhelming flood of filings as well as a set of federal eligibility rules instituted to deal with the crisis. With government phones and websites clogged and drop-in centres closed, legal aid lawyers are fielding complaints from people who say they don’t know where else to turn. “Our office has received thousands of calls,” said John Tirpak, a lawyer with the Unemployment Law Project, a nonprofit group in Washington.
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Pain is everywhere, but it is widespread among the most vulnerable. In a survey that Pew Research Center released Tuesday, 52 per cent of low-income households below $37,500 a year for a family of three said someone in the house had lost a job because of the coronavirus, compared with 32 per cent of upper-income families (with earnings over $112,600). Forty-two percent of families in the middle have been affected as well.” Today’s unemployment report shows continued, elevated unemployment claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement.
“The Department of Labor is continuing to provide guidance and support to the states as they implement the enhanced unemployment benefits under the CARES Act”. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Tuesday that the program has saved more than 30 million jobs. “Everything that the president has had us working on is providing significant stability in the economy,” he said. The latest snapshot of the pandemic’s impact on jobs comes as states like Georgia and Tennessee begin to remove restrictions on travel and businesses. But the most recent plan released by the National Governors Association and state health officials suggests that the economy won’t reopen on a full scale anytime soon.