By Joshua Huff, sports editor
The national unemployment rate has soared as more than 3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits this past week, new national numbers indicate.
The spike comes as the coronavirus pandemic has slammed the nation’s economy, which has forced many from jobs and has shuttered the doors of many companies in the service industry. Nationally, about 2.25% of the entire workforce applied for jobless aid last week.
According to the Department of Labor, just 282,000 people filed for unemployment in the week prior to the massive uptick in unemployment claims filed last week. That number has now skyrocketed to 3.28 million in just one week.
Those unemployment claims are expected to rise as the nation’s economy slips into a recession as restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms and airlines witness their revenues plummet. The fall has happened seemingly overnight as the unemployment rate in February was at a 50-year low of 3.5%. By April or May, the unemployment rate could rise to as high as 30%, some economists predict.
Those numbers are reflected in Alabama as close to 17,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in just two days, Sunday and Monday, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. The majority of those claims were listed as related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Most were from the hospitality industry.