Coronavirus economic updates: 3.28 million people filed for unemployment

ABC News Corona Virus Economic Impacts

The health crisis has increasingly become an economic one.

The coronavirus pandemic has quickly evolved from a health crisis to a financial one, shuttering businesses, upending entire industries and sending financial markets reeling.

Here’s the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy. For more on financial resources available during the pandemic, click here.

Weekly unemployment filings reach new record

A record number of people — 3.28 million — filed for unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released Thursday.

That’s an increase of 3 million from the previous week.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced thousands of businesses to close amid government-mandated stay-in-place orders. The outbreak has especially hit the food, service and retail industry hard.

The new staggering figure comes as the unemployment rate was near a 50-year low just weeks ago.

The previous highest week on record was 695,000 unemployment filings in 1982.

“The coronavirus outbreak is a truly unprecedented event in American economic history, flash-freezing the economy by forcing businesses to shut down and putting millions of American workers out of jobs,” Glassdoor’s Senior Economist Daniel Zhao said in a statement Thursday responding to the news.

“Most historical comparisons of this scale are inadequate. The closest would be natural disasters like major hurricanes,” he added. “However, as today’s report shows, the coronavirus outbreak is economically akin to a major hurricane occurring in every state around the country for weeks on end.”

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