The data from the Labor Department revealed on Thursday the number of applications for unemployment benefits climbed much more than forecast last week as businesses across the country had shut down amid a policy of social distancing aimed at keeping the coronavirus from freely spreading.
According to the report, the initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped to a seasonally adjusted 3,283,000 for the week ended March 21. That was the highest reading since the series began in 1967.
Economists had expected 1,000,000 new claims last week.
Claims for the prior week were revised upwardly to 282,000 from the initial estimate of 281,000.
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