According to Channels TV, job losses from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States climbed to 26.4 million, as Congress on Thursday was poised to approve a new stimulus measure and governors in some states move to slowly reopen businesses.
Sobering data released by the Labor Department showed 4.4 million US workers filed new claims for jobless benefits in the week that ended April 18, underscoring the damage done to the world’s largest economy by the crisis.
The figure represents a drop from recent weeks, but the weekly totals are many times higher than any recorded during the global financial crisis starting in 2008, as virus lockdown measures force businesses to close nationwide.
The House of Representatives was set to give its seal of approval to the latest stimulus bill, which would add nearly $500 billion in fresh relief funds for devastated small businesses and overwhelmed hospitals.
That builds upon the massive $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus measure passed in late March.
The new bill under consideration would provide another $320 in funding for a depleted program to aid small businesses, along with $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion to expand virus testing and $60 billion in disaster recovery loans and grants.
More than 200 lawmakers were to attend the session to ensure a quorum, and only small groups were allowed to enter the chamber at a time. Many wore face masks.
After that, President Donald Trump has said he will sign it into law.