Total US layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic reached 44. 2 million even as businesses try to reopen , and analysts warn of continuing damage to the world ’ s largest economy as COVID – 19 shows few signs of abating .
Wall Street stocks plunged Thursday , reversing recent momentum as traders became spooked by resurgent cases of the virus in parts of the country and new Labor Department data showed another 1 . 54 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week .
The massive layoffs have become routine since shutdowns to stop the coronavirus from spreading began in mid – March , reaching their peak later that month and declining since .
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Some workers are back on the job as states reopen , but the total for the week ended June 6 is still well above any figure seen during the global financial crisis in 2008, even though it fell 355 , 000 from the prior week .
Rubeela Farooqi of High -Frequency Economics said the data shows the US economy is clearly not back to normal.
“ States and businesses have reopened , but activity remains restricted and subdued , which will likely result in ongoing layoffs over coming weeks, ” she said in an analysis.
COVID – 19 remains a stubborn threat in the United States , which continues to record around 20, 000 new cases every day with few signs of reduction .
States like Texas and North Carolina are seeing more patients hospitalized with the virus than a month ago.
Federal Reserve officials on
Wednesday released forecasts projecting the US economy would contract by 6 . 5 percent this year , and Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned that some workers may not find jobs for a long time .
The Labour Department data showed about 20. 9 million people were receiving unemployment payments in the week ended May 30, down from 21 . 3 million the week before – indicating that people were either returning to work or had their initial claims denied .
All told , the report was in line with May ’ s unemployment rate, which declined to 13 . 3 percent from 14. 7 percent in April as the US economy added 2 . 5 million jobs .
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