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Nebraska unemployment surges again as virus forces closures

April 2, 2020 GMT
Job fair specialist Kathy Zywiec, left, hands out bags containing information about available positions, during a drive-through job fair in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the planned job fair where employers were to meet face to face with prospective candidates has been reconfigured to a drive-through event. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Job fair specialist Kathy Zywiec, left, hands out bags containing information about available positions, during a drive-through job fair in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the planned job fair where employers were to meet face to face with prospective candidates has been reconfigured to a drive-through event. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Job fair specialist Kathy Zywiec, left, hands out bags containing information about available positions, during a drive-through job fair in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the planned job fair where employers were to meet face to face with prospective candidates has been reconfigured to a drive-through event. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska saw another record-setting surge in unemployment claims last week as the new coronavirus forced more businesses to close and lay off workers, according to new data released Thursday.

The state received 24,572 unemployment claims during the week that ended March 29, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The previous record of 15,700 was set in the prior week as state officials imposed tough new restrictions on businesses and residents hunkered down at home to keep the virus from spreading.

Nebraska has now had about 40,000 jobless claims in the last two weeks, which is about as many as it normally gets in a year.

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The United States had 6.6 million unemployment claims last week, up from 3.3 million the week before.