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Jobless claims jump by 70,000 as virus starts to take hold

Highest weekly total since Sept. 2, 2017, following Hurricane Harvey.
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Posted at 9:13 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 11:13:53-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — — The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits surged last week by 70,000 to the highest level in more than two years, indicating the effect of the coronavirus was starting to be felt in rising layoffs.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for benefits, a good proxy for layoffs, rose by 70,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 benefit applications last week.

That was the highest weekly total since Sept. 2, 2017, following Hurricane Harvey.