Filing for unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 2.4 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the viral outbreak that triggered widespread business shutdowns two months ago and sent the economy into a deep recession.

Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Another 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are now eligible for jobless aid for the first time.

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