As the nation’s daily COVID-19 case count continues to set record highs, economic experts warn that the number of unemployment claims could soon follow.
New federal data says 709,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week — down from 6.9 million requests the week of March 28. The national unemployment rate was 6.9% in October, down from 14.7% in April.
New York City had 21,623 new unemployment claims last week — down from 143,798 in the week ended March 28. New York’s October unemployment data has not yet been published.
But surging coronavirus rates in the city and across the country — the number of new cases hit a record high of 892,321 in the week leading up to Thursday — may bring another wave of business closures and send the economy back into free fall, economists warn.
“The risk may be for more layoffs as coronavirus cases surge and some states impose restrictions on activity,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at the firm Oxford Economics.