U.S. weekly jobless claims surge to a record 3.28 mln as coronavirus spurs mass layoffs

March 26 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs that likely brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S. history.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 3.28 million in the latest week from a revised 282,000 the previous week, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 1 million, but estimates had ranged to as high as 4 million.

(Reporting By Dan Burns Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)