About 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending April 25, a decline of 603,000 from the adjusted prior week level of 4.4 million, but an indication that coronavirus continues to take a toll on the economy.
The report by the Department of Labor on Thursday said the states with the most initial jobless claims included California (328,042), Florida (432,465), Georgia (268,818), New York (218,912), Texas (254,199) and Washington state (145,757).
The numbers have been declining steadily from the all-time high in March, when almost 6.9 million people filed for unemployment benefits, many of them hospitality industry workers laid off as restaurants closed or limited service to drive thru, pickup and delivery. The slowing jobless claims could also indicate that states have been overwhelmed and are struggling to keep up with the flood of claims.
This week, some states began to lift restrictions, allowing employers to reopen and restaurants to slowly return to dine-in service — despite concerns that freeing business will result in a spike in coronavirus cases.
“As states begin the process of reopening and Americans return to work, today’s unemployment report reflects once again the hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said in a statement.
Scalia noted that all 50 states are now delivering the $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act, which has totaled more than $750 million in disbursements to states.
“Looking ahead, as workplaces reopen, we must ensure that individuals transition from unemployment back into the workforce. Key to this process will be workplace safety,” he said.
The National Restaurant Association estimates roughly 8 million workers have been laid off or furloughed since much of the nation closed for dine-in business to stem the spread of the virus.
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