About 3.2 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. That brings the 7-week cumulative total for Americans losing their jobs to more than 33 million people, amid shutdowns and stay-at-home orders brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The roughly 3.2 million who filed for unemployment over the last week is down slightly from the 3.8 million who filed the week before, and down significantly from the all-time high of 6.86 million applications during the last weeks of March.
Continuing jobless claims also rose week-over-week to 22.6 million people.
On Friday, the government is expected to release April's unemployment numbers, which is expected to be one of the worst months for American workers since the Great Depression. Many economists expect the unemployment rate to be between 15% and 20%. Several major retail chains have already filed for bankruptcy amid the severe downturn in shopping. J Crew and Neiman Marcus have both announced plans to file for bankruptcy, with many more businesses struggling to find a way to survive.
The news comes as many states are beginning to allow some businesses to reopen, including in Los Angeles where Mayor Eric Garcetti said certain retail businesses will be allowed to open for curbside pickup beginning Friday.
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