The number of people in the US registering for unemployment surged to its highest level in history last week as the country entered lockdown to tackle the Coronavirus.
According to the Department of Labor, 3.3 million people registered for jobless benefits in the week ending 21 March. It obliterates the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.
It comes as shops, hotels, gyms, bars, restaurants and other non-essential workplaces close to stop the spread of the virus.
However, the picture could be even worse with such a significant increase resulting in some people unable to get through on phone lines or access government websites to register for jobless benefits.
As recently as February, US President Donald Trump was celebrating the country’s latest unemployment figures which were near the all-time low of 3.5% with just 210,000 people claiming jobless benefits three weeks ago.
Although some essential retailers and supermarkets have pledged to hire more staff to cope with demand, much like in the UK, economists insist it will do not nearly enough to keep unemployment numbers low.
Figures suggest jobless numbers in Illinois increased 10-fold, with New York quintupling and California tripling.