Nearly 284,000 Pennsylvanians filed initial unemployment claims last week, taking the state’s total to nearly 1.1 million through three weeks, or 16.3% of the state’s workforce, according to preliminary statistics posted by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
The three-week tally, totaled through Saturday, represents an unprecedented slowdown in the state’s economy since workers began filing jobless claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week’s number, though huge by pre-coronavirus standards when about 15,000 workers a week might file claims, represents a 30% decline from the previous week’s record of 406,000.
But it’s too early to say that the early rush of Pennsylvanians to file jobless claims may be subsiding. Pennsylvania on Monday said that 65,560 new claims were filed on Sunday, the first day of the week for unemployment statisticians, bringing total unemployment claims to 1,134,053.
Pennsylvania is one of the few states that reports daily tallies on new jobless claims, so it is not possible to compare the updated number with that in other states. Pennsylvania’s weekly total is unofficial until the U.S. Department of Labor releases the weekly nationwide total Thursday morning.
Nationwide, initial unemployment claims soared to 6.6 million for the week ending March 28, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, bringing the nationwide total of seasonally adjusted initial claims related to COVID-19 to nearly 10 million.