Another 2.4 million Americans file for unemployment benefits last week

Unemployment Benefits

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 and job cuts by major employers like Uber.

The Labor Department says about 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless claims because of the coronavirus. Another 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are eligible for jobless benefits for the first time.

The continuing trend of heavy job cuts reflects an economy that is sinking into the worst recession since the Great Depression. Uber says it will lay off 3,000 employees, on top of 3,700 it has already cut, because demand for its ride-hailing services has plummeted.