|Staff Reporter |||Apr 09, 2020 03:42 PM EDT|
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The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hammer the US economy, and the initial jobless claims data for the U.S. labor market on Thursday is expected to show another brutal week.
After two consecutive weeks of millions of jobless claims, economists expect 5.25 million Americans to file for unemployment benefits for the week ending April 4, as the global health misery continues to pound the U.S. economy.
Jobless claims skyrocketed to a record-smashing 6.648 million for the seven-day span ending March 28, and the previous week's figure was revised up from 3.23 million to 3.30 million claims - bringing the total of two weeks to just under 10 million.
The numbers are so outsized they have become something of a crapshoot to forecast. Michelle Meyer, Bank of America's chief US economist, expects a total of 6.5 million for the latest initial claims Thursday, and JPMorgan Chase forecasts an all-time high of 7 million.
According to Meyer, these digits are off the charts. "It tells us about the pain caused by the virus in corporate America." Meyer arrived at her projection by extrapolating from the 16 states that registered 2,3 million claims last week, which matched the sum of those states for the previous week.
Economists expect that this month's unemployment rate will rise into teens, from the 4.4 percent point in March and the 3.5 percent it was at for February. They also forecast that between 10 million and 20 million would appear as lost jobs somewhere in the monthly employment survey.
The influx of layoffs and furloughs is likely to continue with vast parts of the U.S. economy shut down for at least many weeks. Some states thought the worst was yet to come, Bank of America analysts told clients after evaluating the situation across the region. Many issues often prevent a precise count of new jobless claims.
For the week ending March 28, California had the largest number of people filing unemployment claims, more than Pennsylvania's second-highest number of 405,880. For the week, California's 878,727 claims increased significantly from the previous week's 186,333, totaling 1,065 million.
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state had seen more than 1.9 million Californian file since March 12. This would mean that as of Sunday, at least 835,000 claims had been processed over four or five days and that two or three more days of claims may have been made.
Cases of coronavirus continue to soar. Based on data from Johns Hopkins University, there were more than 1.45 million confirmed cases and 83.568 deaths globally as of Wednesday morning. With just under 400,000 confirmed cases and 12,912 deaths the U.S. remains the most infected country in the world.
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