WASHINGTON (Fox News): The number of Americans applying for state unemployment benefits inched down last week, indicating the pace of layoffs is still elevated even as the economy slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which cover the week ending Sept. 26, show that 837,000 workers sought aid last week, about four-times the pre-crisis level.
Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected 850,000 new claims. Last week’s figure was revised upward by 3,000 to 873,000.
The number of people who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits fell to 11.7 million, a decline of 980,000 from the previous week.
Roughly 1 million unemployed Americans have been seeking aid each week for the past six months, when the COVID-19 crisis triggered an unprecedented shutdown of the nation’s economy, pointing to a sluggish turnaround. It’s down from the peak of more than 6 million claims in late March, but remains well above the 200,000 reported in February. Before the pandemic, the record high was 695,000, set in 1982.
There’s also an asterisk to the data: California paused processing initial claims for two weeks in an effort to clear a backlog and adopt fraud-prevention technology, the Labor Department said. This week’s report reflects the level during the last week before the pause and will be adjusted accordingly at a later date.