America Unemployed : Planet Money A record number of Americans filed for unemployment this week. The system isn't designed for this. What's next? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

America Unemployed

America Unemployed

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Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/03/26: View of Brooklyn office of NYS Department of Labor as unemployment claims in USA soared to 3.3 million in week ended March 21 because of COVID-19 pandemic. Sign on the doors asking people to apply for unemployment Online. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Thursday mornings, the Department of Labor releases its weekly unemployment claims — something that never makes the news. On average, maybe a few hundred thousand sign up. But at 8:30am, they announced the worst spike in unemployment the country has ever seen, by far — a staggering 3,283,000 new claims for unemployment. In a week.

Today on the show — what it means to lose a job right now when the mandate for most of us is: Stay home. We look at an overwhelmed unemployment system – the system that exists, the one we dream of, and the one that's being built on the fly.

Music: "Melting Sun," "At The Crossroads," "Louder," and "Two Hearts Collide."

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Correction to length of additional unemployment benefits March 28, 2020

An earlier version of this story said the coronavirus rescue package would provide additional unemployment insurance payments for the four weeks. This has been corrected to say the additional payments are for the first four months.