The torrent of Americans filing for unemployment insurance skyrocketed last week as more than 6.6 million new claims were filed, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That brings to 10 million the total Americans who filed over the past two weeks. […]
On an unadjusted basis, the total was 5.8 million, a number that some economists consider more relevant because seasonal adjustments are less relevant due to the unusual impact the coronavirus-induced shutdown has had on the economy.
“Sadly, this probably still underestimates the actual numbers because of the overload in the systems and not every call getting through,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “Even if we’re accurately calculating the numbers, we still likely have worse to come.”
As more states issue stay at home orders this week, that number will undoubtedly continue growing.
More than 178,000 Illinois residents applied for unemployment insurance benefits last week, as the number of workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic continues to swell.
The surge in jobless claims in Illinois — up about 50% from the 114,000 reported for the week ended March 21 — comes as many struggle to file for benefits. With Illinois unemployment offices closed due to the pandemic, the state’s computer systems have been overwhelmed, and many applicants have had trouble getting through.
The state said last week that additional steps were being taken to handle the “unprecedented volume” of applications, with new hardware infrastructure on the website, and increased call center capacity and staff. But newly unemployed residents say they continue to be frustrated by online glitches and trouble getting through by phone.
“I called yesterday all day long,” said Nicole Morsut, of Round Lake, who has been trying to get benefits since March 20, after being furloughed from a retail sales job.