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As mentioned in last week’s chart, the number of Americans filing for unemployment over the past few weeks overwhelmed the system and created a backlog of claims that were unable to be processed right away. This week’s data updates that picture and shows another colossal jump in claims: over 6 million people filed for unemployment last week.
In this chart, we focus on 2020 data to show the scale of these numbers. Claims between the week of March 23rd and the week of March 16th more than doubled, and the jump from 2020’s weekly average before the pandemic set in to last week is more than 30 times higher.
The data from last week shows that the backlog of claims had an overwhelming effect. Businesses have been suffering and this has caused unemployment numbers over the past two weeks alone to total nearly 10 million Americans. As companies continue to lay off Americans as a result of stay-at-home orders and COVID-19 concerns, the initial unemployment claims have skyrocketed. Congress also passed a stimulus package that increased the incentive for people to see the process of filing for unemployment through, including unemployment benefit extensions and expansions in paid benefits. With the projected timeline for when businesses will be able to re-open being pushed further and further out, the hope is that COVID-19 cases will slow and companies will be able to take full advantage of increased consumer demand.
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