Watch CBS News

30 million people have lost their jobs in just 6 weeks

30 million unemployment claims filed in last 6 weeks
30 million unemployment claims filed in last 6 weeks 02:35

Another 3.8 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment insurance benefits last week, bringing the total number of Americans who have sought jobless aid since March to at least 30 million. All told, the layoffs amount to the fastest loss of jobs on record.

"This is a decline from the week before, but still more than five times the previous all-time high," Nick Bunker, director of the Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a statement. "A number in the low millions may be a relief compared to earlier this month, but it's objectively a horrifying statistic."

During the week ending April 25, Florida saw the largest jump in jobless claims around the U.S., with 326,000 new claims, the Labor Department said Thursday.

"Initial claims for unemployment benefits continue to subside but remain at levels that seemed unthinkable before the coronavirus pandemic and exceeded expectations in the latest week," Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist with Oxford Economics, said in a research note. 

The true number of people out of work is certainly much higher, as many have not been able to file for jobless aid. A survey from the Economic Policy Institute found that, for every 10 people who successfully filed for unemployment benefits, between five and seven others either couldn't apply or were too discouraged to try. 

"Millions of the newly jobless are going without benefits as the unemployment system buckles under the weight of new claims," wrote EPI researchers Ben Zipperer and Elise Gould.

Across nearly every industry, non-essential businesses have closed during the coronavirus outbreak and workers have been sent home with no clear idea of when they'll return. Although governors in some states have begun allowing businesses to reopen under certain restrictions, a full economic recovery may be months, or even years, off, analysts say.

Millions still waiting for checks as surge in unemployment claims creates backlog 07:25

The economy shrank nearly 5% between January and March — the biggest drop in the nation's gross domestic product since October of 2009 during the global financial crisis. But experts say that is the tip of the iceberg. GDP is expected to fall as much as 40% on an annualized basis in the second quarter, which will register the full impact of business shutdowns.  

For April, economists say the unemployment rate could reach as high as 20%. That would be the highest rate since the Great Depression, when it peaked at 25%.

CBS News' Alain Sherter and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.