Weekly jobless claims jump to 281,000 ahead of surge in coronavirus layoffs

Jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, reflecting only the first indications of the impact the coronavirus will have on the U.S. employment picture. 

That number reflected a significant rise from last week’s 211,000, which was unrevised from the initial estimate, according to the Labor Department. It was the highest number since Sept. 2, 2017.

The four-week moving average rose to 232,250, up 16,500 from a week ago and the highest level since Jan. 27, 2018. The previous week saw an upward revision to 215,750 from 214,000. The continuing claims level edged up to just over 1.7 million

Companies are just starting to announce coronavirus-related layoffs, so the real damage probably won’t start showing through until next week’s count, which will entail the period through this Saturday. 

Ian Shepherdson from Pantheon Macroeconomics told CNBC earlier Thursday morning that next week’s total could hit 2 million.

Much of the layoffs so far have come from the hospitality industry, which have been slammed by a national effort of social distancing to keep the coronavirus spread at bay.

Marriott International said it will be laying off tens of thousands of employees. Compass Coffee, which is based in Washington, D.C. and competes with Starbuck’s, has laid off 150 workers, or 80% of its staff. Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group said it would furlough 3,000 workers, also 80% of its workforce.

Get the market reaction here.

This is breaking news. Check back here for updates.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/weekly-jobless-claims.html

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