Unemployment Claims Increase for First Time Since April

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Despite evidence that the job market is rebounding from the pandemic-induced recession, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose for the first time since mid-April, ending a six-week streak of improvements. In the week-ending June 12, roughly 412,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The recent filings were worse than the 360,000 claims that 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. Though unemployment claims have fallen dramatically since the start of 2021 when they exceeded 900,000, they remain high by historical standards which typically came in below 220,000 before the pandemic paralyzed the national economy in March 2020. Since the onset of the pandemic, nearly 83.8 million people have filed initial unemployment insurance claims.