The U.S. Department of Labor this morning released unemployment statistics for the week ending March 28 that are the highest recorded since the department started tracking them.
While the numbers are staggering, they did not reach the levels some had suggested might be possible. Some observers had suggested the number of unemployment claims filed across the U.S. might go as high as 9 million.
The Dow was only slightly down at the opening despite the high number of jobless claims.
The Labor Department said that the seasonally adjusted number for the week ending March 28 was 6,648,000 an increase of 3,341,000 from the revised total covering the week ended March 21.
If claims remain at 6.6 million per week in April, the unemployment rate could reach 20% for the month, said TD Economics. the research arm of TD Bank.
For New York state, the Labor Department said there were 366,403 unemployment insurance claims filed for the week ending March 28 compared with 79,999 the week before. The raw figure for the week ended March 21 had been 80,500. The number for March 28 represents an increase of 286,404 claims.
Connecticut showed less dramatic numbers, with a seasonally adjusted total of 33,182 claims filed. That represented an increase of 8,082 from the prior week’s 25,100 claims.
The Labor Department said that nearly every state reporting cited the COVID-19 pandemic for the higher numbers. It said the increases generally were concentrated in services industries, led by accommodation and food services.
The department said many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance sectors as well as manufacturing industries as impacting the number of claims. An increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.
The total number of claims for the week ended March 21 was revised upward by 24,000 from the 3,283,000 that had initially been reported to 3,307,000.
The largest increases in jobless claims by state were in Pennsylvania (362,012), Ohio (189,263), Massachusetts (141,003), Texas (139,250) and California (128,727).