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Unemployment in the U.S. skyrockets as COVID-19 shutdowns take their toll

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WASHINGTON D.C. (NBC) – The coronavirus has claimed more than a thousand American lives as of Thursday, and as hospitals struggle to keep up with the rising tide of patients, a very different statistic is highlighting the economic devastation: Unemployment filings.

More than three million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a record number twice as bad as expected.

Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is promising to prop up the economy with unprecedented emergency lending, while at the time predicting a sharp recovery.

“At a certain point, we will get the spread of the virus under control, and at that time confidence will return, businesses will open again and people will come to work,” he said. “There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy. Quite the contrary.”

Meanwhile, stocks rallied again Thursday after the Senate approved a $2.2 trillion emergency relief package overnight.

The House will vote on the measure Friday.

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