The report reflected the widespread shutdown of large sectors of the American economy, with countless restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and other businesses furloughing employees or slashing their work hours.
You can read the full report from the Department of Labor here.
In the Labor Department's report, claims filed in California and NY therefore "seem low given anecdotal evidence, which may indeed reflect issues with websites crashing and phone lines jammed and a general reluctance of people to stand in line with lots of other claimants in the current environment", Knightley said. That was second only to the week ended October 2, 1982, when 695,000 first-time claims were filed.
"Most historical comparisons of this scale are inadequate", said Daniel Zhao, an economist with Glassdoor.
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That number was five times greater than in any single weekly period of new filings since record-keeping began in 1967 - and it points to what many expect will be a dramatic increase in the jobless rate, possibly even into double digits later this spring.
Despite the worsening situation with the spreading virus, US President Donald Trump said this week that he would like the country "opened up and just raring to go by Easter".
The collapse of the job market has been unprecedented in size and speed. And within two weeks, I think, 155 shows had canceled.
In the meantime, Congress is set to approve a $2 trillion economic rescue package that broadly expands unemployment benefits, extending them to gig workers and freelancers. It includes more generous benefits and extend eligibility for benefits by 13 weeks.