Another 177,000 Washingtonians filed for unemployment last week. Nationally, 16.8 MM unemployed since pandemic began.

Joblessness continues to rise during the  virus lockdown. The Seattle Times reports nearly 177,000 Washingtonians filed for unemployment benefits last week.

For the week ending April 4, the state received 176,827 initial claims for unemployment insurance, according to figures released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor.

That brings the total number of state residents seeking jobless benefits since the pandemic began to more than half a million.

The state’s new jobless claims were down 3.2% from the number reported the previous week, representing the first decline in more than a month.

Nationally, the numbers are staggering. The Labor Department reports,

In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,606,000, a decrease of 261,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 219,000 from 6,648,000 to 6,867,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,265,500, an increase of 1,598,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 54,750 from 2,612,000 to 2,666,750.

Here one of the DoL graphs.

The Associated Press reports,

With a startling 6.6 million people seeking jobless benefits last week, the United States has reached a grim landmark: More than one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks to the coronavirus outbreak.

The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. By contrast, during the Great Recession it took 44 weeks — roughly 10 months — for unemployment claims to go as high as they now have in less than a month.

The job market is quickly unraveling as businesses have shut down across the country. All told, in the past three weeks, 16.8 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid…

More are expected to file in the coming weeks.

More than 20 million people may lose jobs this month. The unemployment rate could hit 15% when the April employment report is released in early May.

Calculating the economic toll challenges analysts.

“We’re just throwing out our textbooks,” said Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global Ratings.

The Penn Wharton Budget Model, created at the University of Pennsylvania’s business school, projects that the U.S. economy will shrink at an astonishing 30% annual rate in the April-June quarter — even including the government’s new $2.2 trillion relief measure, the largest federal aid package in history by far. An economic contraction of that scale would be the largest quarterly plunge since World War II.

A Brookings Institution analysis of the impact on state budgets includes this:

Most economists are predicting that, after a catastrophic drop, the economy will start growing again as early as this summer. Even if that plays out as hoped, a lot of damage will already have been done. Each percentage point increase in the unemployment rate historically has led to a 3.7 percent drop in state revenues, which would be about $45 billion, according to the Brookings Institution. The official unemployment rate rose nearly 1 percent in March, to 4.4 percent. It’s widely expected to reach into double digits soon.

Unprecedented times.