Unemployment Claims Continue to Hover Around 400,000 Per Week

  in   Insights

The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims continues to hover around elevated levels. With rising COVID-19 cases, which have reached their highest level since February, the hiring recovery appears to have stalled. The number of first-time applications, which generally tracks layoffs, totaled 385,000 in the week-ending July 31, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a decrease of 14,000 claims from the previous week’s level which was revised down from 400,000 to 399,000 filings. While weekly applications for initial unemployment benefits have been generally trending down since the start of the year, when 904,000 claims were filed, initial jobless claims have been hovering around 400,000 since mid-May and remain high by historical standards. In addition, the U.S. unemployment rate has been hovering around 6% for the past six months. Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. was consistently logging weekly claims below 220,000 and the unemployment rate registered around 3.5%. Since the onset of the pandemic, more than 86.5 million Americans have filed initial unemployment insurance claims.