More Millions of Jobless Claims and Counting

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More than a 26 million Americans have now officially filed jobless claims across the United States in the past five weeks as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hold the U.S. economy hostage.

In what has become the number-of-the-week-to-watch for analysts and economists, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that 4,427,00 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 18, slightly better than the 4.25 million in claims expected by analysts polled by FactSet. 

The shocking number of jobless claims in the past five weeks now totals more than 26 million, an ominous record, as the U.S. economy continues to reel from the coronavirus outbreak and unprecedented economic shutdown. Continuing jobless claims - a rolling number - came in at 15.976 million.

While off the charts, the numbers still aren't a true reflection of the current state of the U.S. employment market, where people continue to struggle to submit claims, and where companies continue to face roadblocks getting promised stimulus funding to keep their workers on the payroll.

The government reported that the economy shed 701,000 jobs in March - the most since the Great Recession - though that figure only reflected the start of the pandemic before the U.S. economy came to a virtual standstill. Economists are predicting April's nonfarm payrolls will show an unemployment rate of as high as 20% or more.

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