Another 2.1 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week marking the 10th straight week of seven-figure jobless claims as the coronavirus continues to cripple the economy.
According to weekly data released Thursday by the Labor Department, the total number of people who have sought unemployment benefits stands at more than 40 million since the pandemic began in mid-March and states were forced to close down non-essential businesses to help curb the spread of the virus.
At its peak in mid-March, jobless claims reached more than 6.8 million pushing the state's unemployment office to the brink with so many people applying for aid. States attempted to clear the backlog by hiring more workers and updating their websites to assist people with their claims.
While some states have begun easing restrictions on businesses, many stores and restaurants have returned to business operating at 25% capacity due to social-distancing measures. That means fewer staffers are needed than before the crisis began.
Employers have also found it difficult to retain some staff who wish to remain home amid their concerns about their health and limited access to child care, the Federal Reserve noted this month.
Government figures released earlier this month showed more than 20 million people were out of work in the month of April, spiking the unemployment numbers to 14.7 percent - the highest since the Great Depression. On Friday, the Labor Department will release the monthly employment report for May.
Photo: Getty Images