Jobless Americans hit 36.5m. CNN Photo

About 36.5 million American workers are now jobless, an unprecedented figure since the U.S. government began tracking unemployment in the 1930s.

The figure ballooned to the new height as 2.9million new applications for unemployment benefits were filed last week.

Economists had projected 2.7 million new jobless claims.

Although the number of workers seeking aid remains historically high, it has dropped considerably from the nearly 7 million claims that were filed the week ending March 28.

This week last year, there were only 217,000 new claims made.

Similarly, more than 25 million workers claimed benefits in all programs for the week ending April 25. That figure was 1.6 million for the same week in 2019.

In California, the Labor Department shows, nearly a third of workers, 27.7%, were unemployed for the week ending April 25.

In Michigan, nearly a quarter were jobless, 23.1%, for the same week, the Washington Times reports

The largest job losses last week occurred in Connecticut, where over 298,000 filed for benefits, a figure that is not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday warned that the job crisis could cause lasting damage.

“Long stretches of unemployment can damage or end workers’ careers as their skills lose value and professional networks dry up, and leave families in greater debt,” Powell said at an event sponsored by the Peterson Institute.

President Trump is encouraging states to reopen as quickly as possible to resume more normal commerce. All 50 states have plans to reopen.

The new jobless claims come as House Democrats on Tuesday introduced the HEROES Act, which is a new round of coronavirus relief legislation costing more than $3 trillion.

The House will vote on Friday, but it is not expected to pass through Republican controlled Senate.