The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has hit a record high for the second week in a row as the economic toll tied to the coronavirus intensifies.
More than 6.6 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended 28 March, the Department of Labor said.
That is nearly double the week earlier, which was also a new record.
The deepening economic crisis comes as the number of cases in the US soars to more than 216,000.
With the death toll rising to more than 5,000, the White House recently said it would retain restrictions on activity to try to curb the outbreak.
Analysts at Bank of America warned that the US could see “the deepest recession on record” amid forecasts that the unemployment rate could hit more than 15%.
The outlook is a stark reversal for the world’s biggest economy where the unemployment rate had been hovering around 3.5%.
However, more than 80% of Americans are now under some form of lockdown, which has forced the closure of most businesses.