Unemployment Claims Above 400,000 for Second Straight Week

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Despite economic indicators showing the national economy is rebounding from the pandemic-induced recession, the decline in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has essentially stalled. In the week-ending June 19, roughly 411,000 Americans filed jobless claims for the first time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Although that number is down dramatically from the 2021 high (904,000 filed in the week-ending January 9), and is vastly lower than the historic peak from 2020 (6.1 million in April 2020), it’s only about 7,000 claims below the previous week’s revised level of 418,000 filings. In addition, the most recent week’s filings were a bit worse than the 380,000 claims economists were expecting. The number of jobless claims is generally a proxy for the pace of layoffs, and as the job market has strengthened, the number of weekly applications for unemployment assistance has fallen throughout most of 2021, before stalling out around the 400,000-unit mark for the past two weeks. In the early weeks of 2020, before the pandemic started, the U.S. was consistently logging weekly claims below 220,000. Since the onset of the pandemic, nearly 84.2 million Americans have filed initial unemployment insurance claims.