MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork)– The coronavirus pandemic has sent unemployment claims to record highs, and people all around New York and the country are feeling the effects of the global pandemic.

New York has become the epicenter for COVID-19 in America, and the closing of all non-essential businesses have really hurt people like Kathryn, a restaurant server from Mahwah, N.J.

“I’m a paycheck to paycheck worker,” Kathryn told CBS 2’s Nick Caloway. “If I don’t work, I’m not getting paid. So being out of work for this week has been really tough.”

Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. The week before, there were only 281,000 jobless claims. Last week’s figures shattered the previous all-time high of 695,000 claims.

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Marc Cendella, the Founder & CEO of the career site Ladders, says jobless claims have jumped significantly over the past week.

“Typically in a recession, it creeps up on you over a period of months and quarters,” said Cendella. “This has come on hard and fast over the course of a week with the shutdowns.”

While many businesses around the country are temporarily closed, some retail and home delivery companies are thriving. Stop & Shop is hiring at least 5,000 workers at its stores and warehouses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania to keep up with the demand for food and supplies.


“The things for your viewers to think about are: How much am I willing to downshift? In order to get a job today, what is it I need to do and what compromises do I need to make? And what is my trade-off between months unemployed, and taking something today?” said Cendella.

In the meantime, millions have turned to unemployment.

Back in Mahwah, Kathryn says her unemployment claim was approved on Thursday, but she knows many others in the food service industry whose claims have been denied.

“This is just the world that we’re living in right now,” she said. “It’s scary, it’s scary.”


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