Unemployment claims in the U.S. shot to a record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt.

The virus unleashed a wave of layoffs that brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S. history.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 3.28 million in the latest week from a revised 282,000 the previous week.

U.S. Labor Department said the figure eclipsed the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 1 million.

But estimates had ranged to as high as 4 million.