As the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic deepens, jobless claims have spiked to unprecedented levels, with a record 6.6 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on March 28. That’s more than double the number who applied for benefits the week before, which had also been a record high. The number of jobless claims now far surpasses the levels seen during the worst of the financial crisis and Great Recession and have shattered the weekly record of 695,000 jobless claims set in October 1982 during a period of high inflation across the country.
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A layoff can leave you frustrated, confused, distraught. You might panic at the thought of having to find a new job in this tough market. But a job loss doesn’t have to mean your expenses spiral out of control—so long as you take the right steps to reposition your finances.
If you’ve recently been let go, you’re not alone. Although the unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent in September, major layoffs have taken place this year, including 8,700 employees from Pepsi, 9,000 from IBM, and 14,200 from American Airlines. In the month of September alone, U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 33,816 jobs, according to outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas.
For an article for U.S. News & World Report, I examined what steps the recently unemployed should take so that they don’t jeopardize their financial stability.