The Labor Department reported that another 1.5 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week. The same amount filed the week before.

The number has gone down since it peaked at the height of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

The report also shows that the worst is possibly over.

But it also shows that people are still losing their jobs:

New jobless claims have eased as states allowed businesses to reopen and employers recalled workers. Others signs of economic growth have emerged, including a May rebound in retail spending. But with the economy having slipped into recession this year, many firms have remained cautious about rehiring, leaving millions of people out of work since the pandemic hit.

Employers added to payrolls in May but only offset about one in 10 jobs lost in April and March. Recent data indicate a higher volume of workers are moving in and out of jobs, said Roiana Reid, an economist at Berenberg Capital Markets.

“You’re going to see elevated levels of layoffs because some businesses will permanently close,” she said. “But hiring and rehiring will outweigh that this summer, especially as you see big cities, such as New York, reopen.”

People need to remember that the government expanded eligibility to self-employed and gig workers due to the pandemic:

The federal government is paying $600 in additional unemployment benefits on top of amounts approved by states, allowing many workers to earn more than they did at their jobs. The extra payment is set to expire at the end of July, though Congress is debating whether to extend them or provide other aid.

The enhanced benefits have attracted some who might not have otherwise applied for aid. Not all initial benefits applications are approved, and it is likely that some Americans have applied more than once since mid-March. Rules for applying in some states have changed, and some workers have been recalled to jobs and subsequently laid off again.


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