WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, evidence that the coronavirus keeps forcing companies to slash jobs just as a critical $600 weekly federal jobless payment has expired.
The government’s report today did offer a smidgen of hopeful news: The number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March.
Still, claims remain at alarmingly high levels: It is the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Before the pandemic hit hard in March, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never surpassed 700,000 in a week, not even during the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
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