US unemployment claims rocketed to a record 3.3 million last week as a result of the widespread economic shutdown caused by coronavirus.
The dramatic figure comes after tough restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic led to a wave of redundancies and signalled the likely end to the longest employment boom in US history.
The surge in weekly applications – more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 – reflects the damage the outbreak is doing to the economy, the scale of lay-offs threatening to speed up the decline into recession.
Revenues have collapsed at restaurants, hotels, cinemas, gyms, and airlines.
Car sales have also plummeted and manufacturers have shut factories.