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Virus pushes U.S. unemployment toward highest since Depression

Unemployment in the U.S. is swelling to levels last seen during the Great Depression of the 1930s, with 1 in 6 American workers thrown out of a job by the coronavirus.

More than 4.4 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the government said Thursday.

In all, roughly 26 million people – the population of the 10 biggest U.S. cities combined – have now filed for jobless aid in five weeks, an epic collapse that has raised the stakes in the debate over how and when to ease the shutdowns of factories and other businesses.