More than 138000 Mainers have filed for unemployment since March

US weekly jobless claims expected to climb by 2.4 million despite easing of lockdown measures

Another 2.43 million U.S. workers were put out of work last week amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data Thursday, bringing the total since mid-March to a massive 38.6 million.

Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 2.44 million in the week ended May 16, Labour Department figures showed Thursday.

Since efforts to the contain Covid-19 pandemic rapidly shut down the US economy in mid-March, about 38.6 million initial unemployment insurance claims have been filed under state programs. CT said last week it had misreported its numbers.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would total 2.4 million in the latest week.

The continuing stream of heavy job cuts reflects an economy that is sinking into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Wuhan bans eating of wild animals
Eating wild animals is now officially banned in Wuhan, China , the city's administration recently announced . Both Jiangxi and Hunan border Hubei, the province where the coronavirus first emerged in December.

Last week, 4,640 initial claims were filed for state unemployment benefits and 7,043 new claims were filed for federal benefits under the PUA program. "We continue to read of firms cutting their workforce and these are firms that were not immediately impacted by the mandated contraction from Covid-19".

Claims have been gradually declining since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ending March 28.

That means nationwide claims under that program - which expands unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible, such the self-employed and gig workers - were actually about half of the reported 2.23 million figure.

Last week's claims data covered the week during which the government surveyed establishments for the non farm payrolls portion of May's employment report.

Almost half of Americans say that either their incomes have declined or they live with another adult who has lost pay through a job loss or reduced hours, the Census Bureau said in survey data released Wednesday More than one-fifth of Americans said they had little or no confidence in their ability to pay the next month's rent or mortgage on time, the survey found.

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