U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Spike To New Record High

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After reporting a substantial increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing another spike in jobless claims in the week ended March 28th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims skyrocketed to 6.648 million, an increase of 3.341 million from the previous week’s revised level of 3.307 million. In the previous week, jobless claims shot up by 3.025 million.

With another record-breaking increase, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims reached the highest level in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

In the past two weeks, nearly 10 million people have filed for unemployment, which economists say translates to an unemployment rate of about 10 percent.

The report said the less volatile four-week moving average also surged up to 2,612,000, an increase of 1,607,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,004,250.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also spiked by 1.245 million to 3.029 million in the week ended March 21st, reaching the highest level since July of 2013.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims jumped to 2,053,500, an increase of 327,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,726,250. This is the highest level for this average since January of 2017.

The Labor Department is scheduled to release its usually more closely watched monthly employment report for March on Friday.

However, Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, noted the 10 percent unemployment rate is not likely to show up in the report because the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment survey was conducted three weeks ago.

“The way the survey works, a person counts as employed if they were working when contacted by the BLS, even if they lost their job later in the month,” Low explained.

Economists currently expect the report to show employment fell by 100,000 jobs in March after jumping by 273,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to climb to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent.

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