More than six million Americans filed jobless claims last week, the second highest number of initial unemployment claims filed in one week since the Department of Labor began tracking the data in 1967.
Over 16 million Americans have lost their jobs over the past three weeks as states have closed businesses and implemented social-distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Currently, 10 percent of the American workforce is unemployed.
It is as if “the economy as a whole has fallen into some sudden black hole,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics, told the New York Times.
The surge in unemployment comes after 113 consecutive months of job growth. The effects of the economic downturn have become difficult to predict, because state governments have intentionally shut down sectors of the economy through various quarantine measures.
The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced it would inject an additional $2.3 into the economy through emergency lending programs.
“The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity,” Fed chairman Jerome Powell said in a statement.