Applications for unemployment benefits surge amid coronavirus layoffs

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits surged last week by 70,000, indicating that the impact of the coronavirus was starting to be felt in rising layoffs in the job market.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for benefits, a good proxy for layoffs, rose by 70,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 last week.

Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy.

The sharp increases come as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

In some states, the demand for help may outstrip the ability to pay claims.

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