US jobless claims hit 42 million

Another 1.9 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, bringing the total to over 42 million, according to the latest figures from the US department of labor.

In the comparable week in 2019, initial claims stood at 189 577. 

Unemployment claims have been on the rise for nine straight weeks, bringing the insured unemployment rate up to 14.8 % for the week ending May 23, an increase of 0.5 percentage point from the previous week.  And though the number of new weekly claims has decreased from previous record-breaking levels, the four-week moving average stands at 2 284 000.

Before the pandemic, the US unemployment rate stood at 3.5%, a 50-year low. It is now higher than it has been at any time since the 1930s' Great Depression.

Job losses peaked at 6.6 million at the beginning of April, and some economists have predicted that May's upcoming monthly jobs report will see unemployment figures rising close to 20%.

The United States accounts for a significant amount of the world's consumer spending , which means the welfare of its consumers has knock-on effects for the rest of the world. The current sustained job losses seen in the country are similar to what was observed during the 1930s, analysts have warned.

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