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Weekly Arkansas jobless claims spike to almost 9,000; U.S. claims set new record

The dramatic rise in claims is the direct result of responses to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, which include the closure of non-essential businesses.
Credit: Talk Business and Politics

ARKANSAS, USA — Initial jobless claims in Arkansas for the week ending March 21 were 8,958, more than six times the 1,382 in the previous week. 

Jobless claims nationwide totaled 3.283 million, a huge increase over the 282,000 in the previous week. 

The nationwide tally set a new record for the report.

The previous high was 695,000 in October 1982, and the 4-week moving average was 998,250, an increase of 765,750 from the previous week’s revised average, according to Thursday’s (Mar. 26) U.S. Department of Labor report.

The dramatic rise in claims is the direct result of responses to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, which include the closure of non-essential businesses and social distancing measures that have essentially shut down many service sector and tourism-based businesses.

COVID-19 cases in Arkansas rose from 280 on Wednesday to 335 as of early afternoon on Thursday. 

There were two deaths reported Tuesday, with a third death reported Thursday. 

As of Thursday at 2 p.m., there were 76,514 U.S. cases and 1,093 deaths.

Globally, there were around 511,603 cases and more than 23,000 deaths.

Among the largest populated states, California had 186,809 new claims, up 224%; Texas had 115, 657 new claims, up 862%; Illinois had 114,663 new claims, up 955%; and Florida at 74,021 new claims, up 1,045%.

“This large increase in unemployment claims was not unexpected, and results from the recognition by Americans across the country that we have had to temporarily halt certain activities in order to defeat the coronavirus,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement.

To read more of this story visit our partner in content Talk Business & Politics.