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US unemployment claims top 40M amid coronavirus pandemic

The staggering job losses continue even as some states start to reopen.

Statue of Liberty wearing a face mask to protect from Coronavirus
States continue to work through a backlog of unemployment claims.
James Martin/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

An additional 2.1 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, pushing the total to more than 40 million since mid-March, the US Department of Labor reported Thursday. That works out to roughly one out of every four US workers losing their jobs, according to The New York Times

The unemployment numbers come after the US on Wednesday hit the bleak milestone of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Efforts to slow the spread of the virus through lockdowns have spurred an economic crisis, with unemployment reaching historic levels in the US. In April, the US job market tallied its worst month on record, with an unemployment rate of 14.7%, up from 4.4% in March. 

Despite the pandemic and the economic crisis, much of the tech industry continues to post job listings and make new hires. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft each listed at least 2,000 open jobs on their respective sites as of earlier this month, and the companies all say they're still hiring. 

The latest round of new jobless numbers may not all be fresh layoffs, according to the Times, but instead states working through a backlog unemployment claims.