Millions of American workers applied for unemployment benefits for a fifth week in a row seeking financial relief as businesses remained closed during the coronavirus crisis.
The federal government reports 4.4 million people filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week. That means U.S. workers have filed 26.5 million initial claims since March 14th. Those last five weeks have marked the most sudden surge in jobless claims since the labor department started tracking the data in 1967.
The numbers indicate about 16 percent of the U.S. labor force is suffering from layoffs, furloughs, or reduced hours during the pandemic.