_Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? [Sign up here
More than 5 million people across the United States filed jobless claims in the past week, according to Department of Labor figures released Thursday, another crushing blow to the country’s working and middle class, as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the economy.
The number of newly out-of-work people adds to the nearly 17 million people who filed for unemployment in the previous three weeks, as the nation’s unemployment systems continue to be overwhelmed and unresponsive. The new numbers mean at least 13.5% of the nation’s workforce is currently unemployed, although the number is very likely much higher, as the numbers only count those who were able to file claims.
Among the states, Georgia was particularly slammed, reporting 256,312 job losses from the previous week due to layoffs in food service and accommodation, healthcare and social assistance, waste management, and manufacturing, among other industries.
Michigan was also hard-hit, with 84,219 new claims from the previous week due to layoffs in food service, retail jobs, waste management, and more. Protesters in the state capital of Lansing Wednesday demanded that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer end the state’s stay-at-home order.
The unemployment also adds to other bleak economic indicators that came out this week. Retail sales suffered their worst plunge in nearly 30 years of tracking, with an 8.7% slump in March. U.S. manufacturing output also plummeted 5.4% in March, with worse numbers sure to come in April, the first full month where social distancing measures have been implemented.
Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs predicted that advanced economies like the U.S. could shrink by as much as 35% in the second quarter.
Cover: In this April 14, 2020, file photo, Hillsborough County Library Service employee Stephen Duran, right, hands unemployment paperwork to residents at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Public Library in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)