Historic job losses in the US as more file for unemployment

ABC News’ chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis explains the latest on the spike in unemployment claims due to coronavirus as a majority of the country is shut down.
5:04 | 04/02/20

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Transcript for Historic job losses in the US as more file for unemployment
alternate purpose related to covid-19 for a government takeover. You can't take chances with people like that out there. Michael. You can't, Pierre, thank you so much. George. Okay, Michael, thanks. We turn to the economic impact. So much of the country has been hit so hard, shut down right now with millions of Americans laid off and the new report on weekly unemployment claims is out this morning after last week's record job loss of 3.3 million. Rebecca Jarvis is tracking it all and this week's report could be even worse. Reporter: It is eye popping and staggering, George. We've never seen anything like this before in history, so many job losses so quickly but with 45 states now on lockdown, economists predict we could see as many as 6 million Americans lost their jobs last week. This morning, the country bracing for that new report on layoffs, even the most conservative forecasts estimate at least 3.5 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week. The highest ever eclipsing what was already a record 3.3 million filers two weeks ago. With so many across the country already struggling and out of work phone lines and websites to apply for unemployment insurance are jammed. This is probably going to be about my 30th time calling today. Let's see how it goes. Welcome to the New York state department of labor unemployment insurance. Reporter: Julianna was a restaurant server in long Island, New York, W tried to file for unemployment the day after she was laid off. I have been trying to file for unemployment for about almost two weeks. Reporter: As the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, new York has seen telephone calls to the department of labor increase 16,000% and web traffic up by nearly 900%. But the problems are prevalent everywhere. I've applied for unemployment. I haven't heard back. Co-workers, the same story. I guess they're overrode with requests. When we were furloughed I immediately filed on their website which took days honestly to file. Even just to get signed on took me five hours. I am calling from the Texas workforce commission just to see if we can get through. Reporter: Economists warn the jobs picture will continue to worsen before it gets better. We know that the illness and the contagion will get worse. We also know that the fatalities will get worse but there are also fatalities in the economy and that's what makes this crisis so unique and hard is it's on all sides. We're getting hit on every side. Reporter: Time for many like Julianna is running out. I have decided to start weighing in the possibility of maybe applying to local food store. I would prefer to stay at home just as we are advised, but some of us don't have the luxury of waiting around for a check to come in and I'm definitely one of those people. Reporter: And while you do not need to apply for those $1200 stimulus check, George, you do need to apply for that unemployment insurance. A number of states are working to upgrade their systems. They just were not prepared for this gigantic influx of people who have been laid off recently, George. Yeah, never seen anything like it before. Rebecca, you know, so many people concerned. Will their jobs come back once the pandemic passes? Reporter: And this is the key economic question at this point, George. As the pandemic passes, we know some business will come back and many businesses will work to get back to normal. But traffic, we're seeing it already in China, for example, as businesses coming back there after they were shut down, traffic doesn't come back immediately. That means employers who are still in business may not need the number of employees they had prior to the crisis, prior to the outbreak. Then there's the second issue of who makes it through and part of the stimulus measures are meant to keep businesses floating, keep them working through this crisis, but for many businesses, especially those small businesses, those 30 million small businesses in our country, keeping afloat for many, many months, George, is a tall ask. Boy, it is just such a tough problem. Okay, Rebecca, thanks very much. Coming up in our next hour father/daughter personal finance experts Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze will join us live with their advice on how to manage your family's budget. You can also find out more resources on our website. All right, thank you, George. This morning, coronavirus cases around the world are now approaching the 1 million mark. The uk experiencing its deadliest day on Wednesday reporting 563 new deaths and they've now announced wimbledon is canceled this year for the first time since the second World War. George. Okay, Michael, thanks. We turn to the cruise ship nightmare. Hundreds of people are trapped

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