May 21, 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Caused a Massive Increase in Claims for Unemployment Insurance

During the week that ended on May 16, 2.4 million people filed for unemployment insurance. That capped off a nine-week period during which a total of 39 million individuals filed a claim, largely because of the closure of much of the economy to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each of those nine weeks generated more claims than the previous record of 695,000, which was set in the week that ended on October 2, 1982.

The chart below shows the latest unemployment insurance claims in their historical context.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Caused a Massive Increase in Claims for Unemployment Insurance

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