UPDATED 4/23, 10:15 a.m. ET: With the week ending April 18 seeing 4.4 million more unemployment claims, the United States’ total number of applicants over five weeks has risen to about 26 million.

“About one in six American workers have now lost their jobs since mid-March, by far the worst string of layoffs on record,” the Associated Press reports. “Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20 percent.”

The number of people actively receiving unemployment benefits is standing at 16 million, blowing by a 12 million record set in 2010 following the recession. “This figure reflects people who have managed to navigate the online or telephone application systems in their states, have been approved for benefits and are actually receiving checks,” the AP writes.

Learn more about how the economic crisis is leading to civic dissent and anti-lockdown protests right here.

See original story below.

Millions more have joined those seeking unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 closures and layoffs.

As reported Thursday by the Associated Press, 5.2 million more people sought unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total for the past month to approximately 22 million people. As it stands now, nearly 12 million people are currently receiving unemployment benefits, a number that roughly mirrors the joblessness peak experience back in January 2010 following the Great Recession.

"This crisis combines the scale of a national economic downturn with the pace of a natural disaster," Daniel Zhao, senior economist at employer review site Glassdoor, told the AP. "And that's really unprecedented in American economic history."

The novel coronavirus spread in the States has resulted in closures both temporary and permanent across a variety of industries. The 22 million figure cited above notably represents approximately 13.5 percent of the total labor force. While service jobs have largely been hit the hardest by this virus-inspired developments, some experts say that other fields could be similarly affected moving forward.

Due to the high volume of applicants and the use of unfortunately outdated technology, many have experienced severe delays in receiving payment. If you're in need of filing for unemployment benefits, and are perplexed on how to do so, click here.