A record 3.3 million Americans, including 42,000 Marylanders, filed for unemployment benefits last week, as businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the United States Department of Labor. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982.
Maryland’s unemployment claims last week totaled 41,882, compared to just 3,864 the week before.
Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts. States continued to cite services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services. Additional industries heavily cited for the increases included the health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Congress is working to pass a massive $2 trillion stimulus package designed to keep the economy afloat amid the deepening coronavirus public health emergency.
The bill includes $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds; $500 billion lending fund for industries, local governments, and states; $367 billion for small business loans; $130 billion for hospitals; and $1,200 checks to most Americans. Unemployment insurance would be extended to four months, the benefits would be bolstered by $600 weekly and eligibility would be expanded to cover more workers.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, in Maryland, Governor Hogan launched a $175 million small-business relief program that will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The State is also allowing residents to file for unemployment, regardless of whether or not they have been formally laid off, if their workplace has closed because of the pandemic.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.
For up-to-date information and state resources regarding coronavirus, including confirmed case counts and clinician guidance, visit http://health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.