With large parts of the American economy shuttered because of coronavirus-related lockdowns, the number of people filing jobless claims in the US last week reached 6.6 million, by far the highest number on record. Over 10 million people filed unemployment claims in the last two weeks of March alone, more than were filed in the first six months of the Great Recession. The surge in jobless claims, which may still be a vast undercount of the number of people without work, is sure to cause a spike in the overall unemployment rate (which tells you the percent of work-ready people who are looking for a job). At last reading in February, unemployment was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. Some economists now warn that it could reach over 15 percent in the near term. Here's a look at the historical context.