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These Updating Charts Show The Record Number Of Americans Filing Unemployment Claims

Unemployment claims in the US have soared as the coronavirus shuts down large parts of the global economy. Here are some charts we’ll continue to update.

Last updated on April 2, 2020, at 8:57 a.m. ET

Posted on March 20, 2020, at 10:54 a.m. ET

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The number of people filing for unemployment benefits in the US hit another record this week as the coronavirus pandemic has been forcing people indoors, with an additional 6.6 million people filing claims around the country.

For comparison, that is roughly the entire population of the state of Indiana.

Last week it was reported that 3.3 million people filed for unemployment for a two-week total of roughly 10 million — for comparison, that's more people than live in New York City, or is roughly the population of Michigan.

Since March 14, several states have implemented policies that order people to stay home, closing restaurants and bars, hair salons, gyms, and all nonessential services. Websites in various states have been crashing as more and more newly jobless people are trying to apply for unemployment benefits. We’ve never had a complete shutdown of several parts of the economy before.

The below chart — which updates weekly — shows unemployment claims over time:

If you want to take a closer look, here’s a chart of the same numbers since 2019.


Here are some of these numbers again, but broken down by state. The chart also compares this week’s unemployment claims to those from a similar week last year. (This updates weekly.)

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More than two-thirds of US Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and experts predict that people in service jobs, manufacturing, and construction will likely be hit hardest by the coming economic turmoil, which represents more than a third of the US’s labor force — about 53 million people. This chart will be updated monthly.

Who will be the most affected by this downturn will crystalize in the next few months, as more information becomes available. BuzzFeed News will update this post with more government data once it’s available.

For those who have been laid off and are filing for unemployment for the first time, you should take a look at the information offered from your state’s labor department about who qualifies and what you need if you want to apply. BuzzFeed News has cobbled together information on each state’s labor department below.

Most state labor departments offer online portals, like the ones listed in the table below, to start filing your claim. If you do not have access to the internet, state departments offer assistance on the phone.

Additionally, you should see whether your state’s labor department has issued policies around job losses that are related to the coronavirus on its website. Policies on the state and federal level are currently in flux.

We will update this post with more government data once it’s available.

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