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This special second edition Chart of the Week shows weekly initial jobless claims going back to 2007. Last week’s number came in at an unprecedented 3.3 million people, a near 12x increase from the previous week and 5x the previous largest jump in unemployment. Perhaps more alarming is that this number might not tell the whole story of the unemployment picture.
Ten states saw more than 100,000 people file for unemployment this week; however, due to low staffing and budgets, many claims could not be properly processed and included in the data. Granted, the number is likely higher as multiple states — Illinois included — have issued a stay-at-home order for non-essential employees due to COVID-19. The restaurant, airline, retail, and hotel industries have been hit especially hard with many Americans depending on a stimulus package to tide them over until the virus can be effectively tamed. Many small businesses have been forced to let employees go as they have been unable to generate cash flow.
On a more positive note, Amazon, CVS, and Walmart have been looking to hire thousands of employees as they receive increased demand from customers looking to purchase more goods as a result of being at home. If the virus is contained, the hope is that jobs will pick back up and companies will re-hire relatively quickly, though the question on when that might happen is one that is yet to be answered.
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