More than 26 million individuals have filed for unemployment since COVID-19 began spreading throughout the country.

An additional 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week a decrease of 810,000 from the week prior, but still a historically high figure. Since COVID-19 began spreading throughout the county, unemployment insurance claims have numbered more than 26 million.

“Today’s unemployment report shows continued, elevated unemployment claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement. “The Department of Labor is continuing to provide guidance and support to the States as they implement the enhanced unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, with 44 States now paying the $600 additional weekly benefit provided by the Act.”

“The Department also continues to implement the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and has now initiated hundreds of cases to ensure workers receive what they’re entitled to under the law,” Scalia added. “As American businesses look to open up again under the guidelines presented by the White House last week, the Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will continue to provide guidance and support to protect workers and ensure safe workplaces, backed up as necessary by appropriate use of OSHA’s enforcement authorities.”

The seasonally-adjusted insured unemployment rate hit 11 percent last week, the highest in recorded history, and an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous week.

Despite the astronomical number of claims, the number of new unemployment claims has been steadily declining for three weeks and could continue to drop as more states look to ease stay-at-home orders.

Email Patrick Kearns

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