Jobless claims tick down but remain above 1 million


New weekly claims for unemployment benefits sunk to roughly 1 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, falling slightly but remaining in seven figures for the second straight week.

The number of seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending Aug. 22 came in at 1,006,000, according to the Labor Department, falling 98,000 from the previous week.

The non-seasonally adjusted figure, which some economists prefer given the unique nature of the recession, fell to 821,591, a decrease of 67,958 from the previous week.

New claims for jobless benefits have lingered around the 1 million mark for much of August after months of fairly steady declines. After peaking at 6.8 million in the end of March, weekly jobless claims broke below 1 million in the week ending Aug. 8 for the first time in five months, but rose to 1.1 million the following week. 

Claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program that covers those who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance, also rose to 607,806 last week, a gain of 82,820. 

Economists warn that the still-staggering number of Americans filing their first claims for jobless benefits is a sign of deep long-term damage to the U.S. economy. 

Despite three straight months of job gains, roughly 12 million of the 21 million Americans who lost their jobs because of the pandemic remain unemployed as of July. More than 27 million Americans were also on some type of unemployment insurance as of the week ending Aug. 8.

Millions of those receiving unemployment insurance are also reeling from the July expiration of a $600 weekly boost to benefits. Economists across the ideological spectrum have warned lawmakers that millions of Americans could be plunged into hunger, homelessness and bankruptcy without further support for jobless benefits.

Tags coronavirus recession Weekly jobless claims

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