CNN

Another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

Apr 23, 2020, 6:33 AM | Updated: 6:41 am
Unemployment benefits...
Chairs and tables sit inside a closed restaurant in Times Square in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Treasury futures ended Tuesday mixed, with front-end yields slightly cheaper on the day and rest of the curve richer, yet off session lows reached during U.S. morning. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(CNN) — For the fifth week in a row, millions of American workers applied for unemployment benefits, seeking financial relief as businesses remained closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 4.4 million in the week ending April 18, after factoring in seasonal adjustments, the US Department of Labor said.

Without those adjustments — which economists use to account for seasonal hiring fluctuations — the raw number was 4.2 million.

No matter how you look at the data, the last five weeks have marked the most sudden surge in jobless claims since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1967. American workers filed 26.5 million initial claims since March 14, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers.

Not all of those claims will result in benefits being paid. Some will be rejected because workers did not meet eligibility requirements. Even so, numbers at that level reflect a devastating blow to workers, indicating roughly 16.2% of the US labor force is suffering from layoffs, furloughs or reduced hours during the coronavirus pandemic.

Early studies have shown lower-income workers are particularly affected by job losses, and minorities, specifically black and Hispanic families, are expected to bear the brunt of the economic cost of this crisis.

Meanwhile, states continue to struggle to process the overwhelming volume of unemployment claims. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Tuesday that his state had 1,000 people “just to take the incoming unemployment calls. That’s how high the volume is. And they still can’t keep up.”

And Florida’s state unemployment agency said on Tuesday that it had only paid a paltry 14% of the claims filed since March 15 — among the slowest in the country, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Just over a quarter of Florida’s claims were rejected because filers were found ineligible for the regular jobless benefits program. However, some may still qualify under a new pandemic unemployment assistance program that Congress created in the $2 trillion relief package last month.

Lawmakers temporarily extended the unemployment program to independent contractors, the self-employed, gig workers and those affected by the coronavirus — and states have scrambled to update their computer systems to process those new types of claims.

— Tami Luhby contributed to this article.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

A US Soccer spokesperson told CNN in an email that Pulisic, who collided with the Iranian goalkeepe...
Kevin Dotson and Matias Grez, CNN

Christian Pulisic is day-to-day after being taken to hospital with pelvic contusion suffered scoring winning goal for US

A US Soccer spokesperson told CNN in an email that Pulisic, who collided with the Iranian goalkeeper after scoring his goal, went for medical scans but "was not hospitalized."
1 day ago
USGS posted two photos on Monday from a Civil Air Patrol flight which shows the Mauna Loa volcano e...
Chandler Holt

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time since 1984

The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii, is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years. Though lava is flowing down one side of the volcano, the eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not threatening communities.
2 days ago
Flowers and stuffed animals are lined up outside a sign along Pullman Road in Moscow, Idaho, to pay...
Elizabeth Wolfe and Eric Levenson

University of Idaho students return from break, no arrests in homicides

After more than two weeks since four students were fatally stabbed, students at the University of Idaho returned to class on Monday.
2 days ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen here with audience members after appearing at at CNN town ...
Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ for dinner with Holocaust denier

Former Vice President Mike Pence says former President Donald Trump was wrong for having dinner with a Holocaust denier and should apologize for it.
2 days ago
In this image provided by NASA, the Earth and its moon are seen from NASA's Orion spacecraft on Mon...
Jackie Wattles, CNN

NASA’s Orion reaches record-breaking distance from Earth

NASA confirmed that Orion had reached the midpoint of its uncrewed mission around the moon — about 270,000 miles (434,523 kilometers) from Earth.
2 days ago
People wait in line to enter Macy's department store during Black Friday in New York City on Novemb...
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Online Black Friday sales set a new record

Online shopping is expected to remain strong through Cyber Monday.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week