US unemployment claims hit 26.4 million amid virus

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A further 4.4 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week as the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to mount.

The new applications brought the total number of jobless claims since mid-March to 26.4 million.

That amounts to more than 15% of the US workforce.

However, the most recent data marked the third week that the number of new claims has declined, raising hopes that the worst of the shock may be over.

“While this week’s 4.4 million jobless claims are staggering, there are signs that the pace of layoffs has reached its peak,” said Richard Flynn, UK managing director at financial service firm Charles Schwab.