Jobless rolls continued to swell due to the coronavirus shutdown, with 6.6 million Americans filing first-time unemployment claims in the week ended April 4, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
That brings the total over the past three weeks to more than 16 million.
The most recent number represents a decline of 261,000 from a week ago, which revised up by 219,000 to nearly 6.9 million.
The ongoing surge in filings for unemployment insurance has been exacerbated by the expansion of those who can file claim. The CARES Act has expanded the group to include the self-employed and independent contractors.
Prior to the social distancing efforts used to combat the coronavirus spread, the jobs market had been strong. In the six-month period prior to a shutdown that has taken offline much of the U.S. economy’s capacity, nonfarm payroll growth had averaged 221,000 a month.