(The Center Square) – The number of unemployment claims filed last week in California more than tripled the prior week, according to seasonally unadjusted numbers reported Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to the data, 186,809 Californians filed for unemployment in the week that ended March 21.

That's up 129,203 claims from the 57,606 filed the week ending March 14, according to the department.

Nationally, nearly 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, a record number as businesses were forced to shut down to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"This large increase in unemployment claims was not unexpected, and results from the recognition by Americans across the country that we have had to temporarily halt certain activities in order to defeat the coronavirus," U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said.

California has been under a stay at home order since Thursday and nonessential businesses forced to close in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.