The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15% this month, above the previous record of 10.8% set during a deep recession in 1982.
Heidi Shierholz, the director of policy at Economic Policy and the U.S. Department of Labor's former chief economist, wrote on Twitter that a graph showing the sharp rise in claims was a "portrait of disaster".
Some U.S. economists are predicting that 25 million to 40 million workers out of the U.S. labor force of almost 165 million could be laid off by July, with the world's largest economy plunging into a recession in the April-to-June period.
That's according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Labor and marks a more than 300 percent increase over the week before. Jobless claim websites in some states, including NY and OR, have crashed in the wave of claims.
The state has provided $45 million to 108,000 people over the past two weeks.
On Friday, the US Department of Labour will release the jobs report for March.
More information on expanded unemployment benefits and updates on the COVID-19 response can be found here. On Monday alone, major retailers Macy's, Kohl's and Gap announced that collectively they have laid off 290,000 workers.
Thursday's numbers validate the view of most economists that the United States is already in recession and the country's record job creation boom has come to a definitive, screeching halt. Its earlier estimate was for a 9% jobless rate.
VEC says they've received historic levels of people attempting to file for unemployment online or through the phone. "The loss would be enough to boost the unemployment rate from roughly 3.5% to 12.5%, which would be its highest rate since the Great Depression".
Last week, USA lawmakers expanded the country's unemployment benefits system as part of the $2.2 trillion (€2 trillion) economic package passed by Congress last week.
In addition, for the first time, freelancers and gig workers, such as Uber drivers, will be eligible.