(The Center Square) - The six-week surge in new unemployment claims continued last week as businesses deemed nonessential by state and local governments reduce staffing in response to COVID-19.
More than 3.8 million Americans filed unemployment claims for the week ending April 25, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. The 3.839 million claims is down 603,000 from the week prior, when 4.42 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits.
Over the past six weeks, about 30.3 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits because of stay-at-home orders in response to the novel coronavirus.
Many experts believe the U.S. economy has slipped into recession, although that won't be definitively determined until there are two consecutive quarters with a decline in GDP, a metric designed to quantify the combined economic output of the nation's economy.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released Wednesday indicates that the U.S. economy shrank by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, the worst such decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 when the nation was headed toward what's now known as the "Great Recession."
President Donald Trump held a roundtable discussion with business leaders from across the country Wednesday regarding plans to slowly reopen the economy.
"America is ready to get back to work," Trump said.
Florida led the nation in new unemployment filings with 432,465. But that's a drop of 74,205 claims from the 506,670 filed the week prior.
California saw the sharpest decline in new claims. Last week, 328,042 California workers filed for unemployment, a drop of 200,318 from the week ending April 18, when 528,360 Californians filed for benefits.
Congress expanded unemployment benefits in the $2 trillion CARES Act passed last month. Benefits include an extra $600 a week on top of state benefits for up to four months.