Over 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending March 28. The number of claims has grown by over 3.3 million since the previous week.
The released figures are much higher than forecasts cited by various media, as economists expected the number of claims to stand at around four million.
“In the week ending March 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,648,000, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week’s revised level,” the US Labor Department said in a statement on Thursday.
Nearly 3.3 million claims were filed in the week ending March 21, smashing the 1982 record, when the number of initial weekly filings reached 695,000.
According to the agency, the latest figures mark “the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.”
The massive surge in jobless claims drove down US stock futures. However, key indices remained in positive territory half an hour before the opening bell.
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