Amid COVID-19, unemployment spike highest since 1975


A pedestrian walks by The Family Barbershop, closed due to a Gov. Gretchen Whitmer executive order, in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., Thursday, April 2, 2020. The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has triggered a stunning collapse in the U.S. workforce with millions of people losing their jobs in the past two weeks and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic damage from the crisis piles up around the world. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Across the country and in Texas, unemployment continues to spike as COVID-19 grapples with economic output.

According to March 2020 data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday, the nationwide unemployment rate is 4.4% with more than 7 million people unemployed. That’s the highest one-month increase since January 1975.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that “it is clear that the decrease in employment and hours and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus.”

Texas has a sizable chunk of the unemployed, too. In the week ending March 28, more than 275,000 people filed for unemployment insurance statewide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Texas Workforce Commission also reported that in a two-week period since COVID-19 claims began, they’ve taken more than 480,000 claims.

TWC says they’re on pace to cover a year’s worth of claims in just five weeks.

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