More than 6.6 million new unemployment claims have been filed this week nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Labor – nearly double the claims from last week. According to the labor department, this is the highest in recorded history.

The increase in claims is undoubtedly linked to the economic uncertainly and state-by-state lock downs affecting all sectors of the U.S. economy. These numbers also may not tell the full picture, as many people are attempting to file claims but are unable to due to each state labor department’s ability to process what can be described as a flood of new claims.

For example, the New York State department of labor received more than 8.2 million phone calls, compared with 50,000 in a typical week. The agency has imposed guidelines to help balance inquiries, in addition to hiring additional staff to process claims.

From the U.S. DOL:

In the week ending March 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,648,000, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the
history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous week’s level was revised up by 24,000 from 3,283,000 to
3,307,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,612,000, an increase of 1,607,750 from the previous week’s revised
average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 6,000 from 998,250 to 1,004,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1 percent for the week ending March 21, an
increase of 0.9 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted
insured unemployment during the week ending March 21 was 3,029,000, an increase of 1,245,000 from the previous
week’s revised level. This is the highest level for insured unemployment since July 6, 2013 when it was 3,079,000. The
previous week’s level was revised down by 19,000 from 1,803,000 to 1,784,000. The 4-week moving average was
2,053,500, an increase of 327,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the highest level for this average
since January 14, 2017 when it was 2,062,000. The previous week’s average was revised down by 4,750 from 1,731,000
to 1,726,250.

The labor department noted that a number of states continue to cite claim numbers that encompass health care, social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail, wholesale trade, and construction industries.