A further 3.2 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week as the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to mount.

The new applications brought the total number of jobless claims since mid-March to 33.3 million.

That amounts to more than 15% of the US workforce.

However, it was less than the 3.8 million a week ago and down from the record 6.9 million for one week in March.

Although the number of people filing claims is on the decline, it is still extraordinarily high, says BBC Business correspondent Samira Hussain in New York.

Although the unprecedented job losses seem to be slowing, economists say the monthly unemployment rate for April, which will be released on Friday, could reach 15% or higher.

Just two months ago, the unemployment rate was at 3.5%, a 50-year low.

Since the coronavirus has taken hold in the US, the country has suffered its worst growth numbers in a decade, the worst retail sales report on record and the highest weekly unemployment claims ever seen.

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