Another 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to new data released by the Department of Labor earlier today. Last week's claims bring total unemployment claims over the last 10 weeks as a result of government shutdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic to 40.8 million.

Before the shutdowns, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 164 million Americans were working. With nearly 41 million Americans now out of work, one-fourth of the workforce has been sidelined due to the health crisis.

In April, the unemployment rate stood at 14.7%, a level that hasn't been seen since the Great Depression. May's official unemployment numbers will be released next Friday, June 5.

On a positive note, the number of Americans who have been filing for unemployment benefits has decreased in recent weeks, and many states have opened back up. Even the states hit the hardest by the pandemic have plans to open up their economies in the month of June. Still, economists believe it will take years to return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

In April, the Trump Administration halted the issuance of new green cards that also come with lifetime work permits for several categories, including green cards given through the visa lottery, family chain migration, and most employment-based categories. The Administration is looking to expand that order to cover several guest worker programs.

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Updated: Fri, Jun 12th 2020 @ 8:00am EDT