As job losses mount, some economists say the nation's unemployment rate could approach 13 per cent by May. Weekly claims are essentially the most well timed labor market indicator.
The dire figures come as economic analysts have been preparing for the threat of a looming global recession sparked by struggling markets on Wall Street.
A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, breaking a previous high of 695,000 that was set in October of 1982.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure on Friday, and President Donald Trump has pledged to sign it quickly.
"We've known this number was coming for a week and a half", Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of the LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based employment agency, told CNBC.
"Most historical comparisons of this scale are inadequate", said Daniel Zhao, an economist with Glassdoor.
Owned companies banned from virus aid in stimulus bill
Many members are relying on highlights from the plan, and the legislative text of the bill has yet to be released to the public. The children, spouses and in-laws of the aforementioned principals are also included in this prohibition.
New unemployment insurance claims soared for the week ending March 21 as Washington state workers stayed home under Gov. Jay Inslee's order. "Non-essential" businesses have also been ordered closed.
"Expectations are all over the map and any number we get on Thursday won't give an accurate picture of what is going on out there with downsizing decisions being discussed in corporate America as we speak", said Mohannad Aama, managing director at Beam Capital Management in NY. The biggest spike was in Clark County where unemployment claims increased just shy of 10,000 percent.
"In addition, reports from some states also suggest that the process for making claims has been in part shifted to a pen and paper approach, potentially delaying the filing process as well", said Jan Kozak, an economist at Morgan Stanley in NY.
Among those hardest hit will be India's estimated 120 million migrant labourers, for whom the lockdown means wages are disappearing. Economists, nonetheless, say the push for advantages in that survey week suggests payrolls declined this month, which might finish practically 9-1/2 years of job development.
In Britain, the government said 477,000 people had applied over the past nine days for Universal Credit, a payment to help with living costs for those unemployed or on low incomes.