4.4M Americans filed for new jobless claims last week, bringing COVID-19 total above 26M

Another 4.4 million Americans filed for government jobless benefits for the first time last week, bringing the total number to more than 26 million people since the middle of March.

Jobless claims figure for week up to April 18 was 810,000 less than previous week's level

The U.S. jobless claim figure decreased last week from the previous week's level. (John Taggart/Bloomberg)

Another 4.4 million Americans filed for government jobless benefits for the first time last week, nearly one million fewer claims than did so the previous week.

The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 4,427,000 Americans filled out applications for jobless benefits in the week ended April 18.

That's a reduction of 810,000 from the previous week's level, but still a sign that joblessness continues to hit the U.S. economy at a breathtaking pace.

The figure brings the total number of newly jobless people in the U.S. in the past five weeks to more than 26 million people. That's more than the entire number of new jobs created in the U.S. economy since the financial crisis in 2008.

"The number of Americans filing for UI for the first time slipped for the third week in a row, but the numbers are still terrible," Bank of Montreal economist Jennifer Lee said of the numbers.

"Brace for April's payroll report to be uglier than March's, with the jobless rate poised to hit a record high."

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