Overall, more than 45 million Americans have now filed for first-time benefits since mid-March.
Stripping out the seasonal adjustments, initial claims stood at 1.4 million last week. These adjustments smooth out the data in normal times but add unnecessary noise in this unprecedented situation.
Continuing claims, which count people who filed for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 20.5 million, only slightly down from 20.6 million in the prior week. Experts are looking for this number to come down substantially over the summer. If it doesn’t, it could mean that the labor market recovery is much slower than hoped.
On top of the regular unemployment benefits, 760,526 workers in 46 states filed initial claims for pandemic unemployment assistance. These additional benefits were created by Congress to provide aid to independent contractors, the self-employed and gig workers among others.
A tale of two economies
Economic data has been painting a murky picture over the past weeks.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated during is Congressional Testimony earlier this week that the pace and strength of the recovery remained uncertain. Powell also said the central bank, as well as the government, might need to do more to support the economy, its workers and those hit hardest by the pandemic recession. The Fed has stressed that minority groups including black, Hispanic and female workers have been overpresented in bearing the brunt of the crisis.
This is a developing story. It will be updated