The US government on Thursday reported that an additional 3.2 million jobless claims were filed last week - the latest of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Over 33 million people have joined the unemployment rolls in seven weeks, reports the New York Times.
The weekly tallies have declined since reaching a peak of 6.9 million claims in late March, but the numbers are still stupefying. In many states, more than a quarter of the work force is jobless.
Economists expect the monthly jobs report from the US Labor Department, due Friday, to show that the unemployment rate in April was 15 percent or higher — a Depression-era level. The figure will almost certainly understate the damage.
Workers in the restaurant, travel, hospitality and retail industries were among the first to lose their jobs when the outbreak forced business shutdowns.
But in recent weeks, scores of layoffs were announced for engineers at Uber, advertising account executives at Omnicom, designers at Airbnb and other office employees.
"We are still seeing a massive wave of layoffs taking over the US economy," said Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.
He described the latest job losses as a "secondary wave of the coronavirus recession."