Layoffs spike in US, Europe as virus shuts businesses

Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 1:20 PM CDT
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The U.S. and global economies have come to a shuddering stop, unleashing a wave of layoffs that is much larger and moving much faster than job losses in previous downturns. They are swamping state unemployment benefits systems and leaving many Americans still working anxious about whether they will be next.

Tens of thousands of laid-off workers have already flooded state unemployment websites across the country to apply for jobless benefits. In the week ending March 14, the number of people seeking unemployment aid soared by 70,000 to 281,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. And many states are already reporting big increases in benefit applications this week, which weren't included in those figures.