A record 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the new coronavirus struck the U.S. economy and sent a recently booming labor market into free fall. The large number of claims was double the 3.3 million who sought benefits two weeks ago.
- Bleak economic outlook: About 6% of the U.S. labor force has filed for jobless benefits in the last two weeks, up from 0.3% at the end of February.
- Worth Noting: Layoffs have been particularly widespread among small businesses. Such firms operate on lower cash reserves and quickly resorted to layoffs. Employees at such businesses tend to be lower-skill workers who suffer most from layoffs. The roughly $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week is intended to help ease some of the financial pain many laid-off Americans are experiencing. (WSJ)