U.S. new unemployment claims of 5.245 million were filed for the week ended April 11, down from a revised 6.6 million the previous week but continuing to set records with total claims filed over the past four weeks alone now at 22 million.
The closely watched statistic has become the best indicator of the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the U.S. economy, broad sectors of which have ground to a halt.
Job losses have been steep across the entertainment industry as revenue dries up with furloughs, layoffs and disappearing work from theater chains to talent agencies, theme parks and across film and television production. The announcements have been streaming in with, most recently, nation’s third largest theater chain Cinemark announcing 17,500 layoffs earlier this week and companies from the WWE to IHeart Media shedding staff. Walt Disney World is furloughing 43,000 employees.
For the third week running, California registered the most new claims at 660,966, followed by New York at 395,949.
Deadline reported yesterday that the $600-a-week bonus unemployment payments have started to arrive for entertainment industry workers in California who lost their jobs in shutdown. The recent $2 trillion CARES Act now adds an additional $600 per week to the amount of unemployment insurance benefits recipients ordinarily would get.