Jobless Claims See a Second Giant Surge

More than 6 million people filed new claims for unemployment in the week ending March 28. It’s hard to capture what a number like that means. Last week’s 3.3 million new claims was already almost five times the previous high of 695,000, reached in 1982. Economists’ consensus for this morning’s number was 3.8 million, which still would have been about triple the largest weekly increase ever before last week. The 6.6 million new unemployment claims reported today is once again off the charts. But the almost unimaginable second surge doesn’t mean we didn’t understand the costs of efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic—it’s just that the costs have come more quickly than expected.

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