The number of unemployed Americans rose precipitously again last week due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some 5.245 million workers filing first-time jobless claims and bringing the four-week total to more than 22 million, wiping out all the job gains since the Great Recession, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The number was down 1.37 million from the landmark number of claims filed a week earlier.

“Today the Labor Department reported another massive increase in new unemployment claims, 5.25 million alone in the week ending April 10,” Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at the Century Foundation and one of the nation’s leading unemployment insurance experts, said in an emailed statement. “That brings the total COVID-19 layoffs to at least 22 million in the last month, representing an unfathomable 1 in 7 U.S. workers who have sought emergency help.

“While this week’s data is down slightly from last week’s 6 million figure, it is a stark reminder that the economic damage from COVID-19 just keeps coming. The torrent of claims is clear evidence that economic mitigation efforts like Paycheck Protection for small businesses, while important, have not yet stopped the flow of people from payrolls to unemployment.”

While the reduction in unemployment claims is down from the 6.615 million claims filed last week, Thursday’s announcement wipes out all job gains since the Great Recession. Experts predict unemployment could hit 20% in April.

“Records are being broken left and right with respect to the depth and breadth of the current downturn,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at, said in an emailed statement. “With no immediate end in sight to efforts aimed a mitigating the virus’ spread and impact, it is impossible to see a near-term upturn in employment prospects,”

States with the highest level of unemployment for the week ending March 28, were Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia.

States with the largest increase in claims for the week ending April 4 included Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia, while California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Massachusetts saw the largest decrease in unemployment claims for the same week.

“States that were late to shut down now feeling the pain. Georgia had more than 256k and led the pack because it shut down later,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton and an advisor for the Federal Reserve, said in a Twitter post.

Unemployment in America
The unemployment rate in the country is expected to to rise. Reuters