Americans applied for unemployment benefits in huge numbers for the fourth consecutive week, although the number of applications for benefits last week fell more than expected.
The number of American citizens applying for unemployment benefits for the first time in the week of April 11 was 5.245 million, according to the US Department of Labor.
According to revised data a week earlier, 6.615 million applications were filed, rather than 6.606 million, as originally reported.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, on average, predicted a decrease in the number of applications to 5.5 million.
Over the past four weeks, more than 20 million applications have been filed against the backdrop of tough measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The number of American’s continuing to receive unemployment benefits for the week ending April 4 increased by 4.53 million to a record 12 million.
Last month, the US economy lost 701 thousand jobs. Unemployment in March jumped from 3.5% to 4.4%, peaking since August 2017.
The number of new jobless claims is expected to continue to grow, as most of the economy is still shut down due to anti-coronavirus measures that have undermined business activity.
According to Morgan Stanley forecasts, US unemployment in the second quarter will reach a record level of 15.7%.