Initial Jobless Claims Dip, Still High at 1.5 Million

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 18, 2020
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​Around 1.5 million U.S. workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending June 13, reflecting continuing layoffs as the country’s economic recovery slowly starts to take shape. First-time claims have fallen for 11 straight weeks since hitting a record 6.8 million in late March, indicating that the downturn triggered by a near shutdown of the country in mid-March to control the spread of COVID-19 is bottoming out. Jobs rebounded in May and the unemployment rate dropped as employers across the country began reopening and rehiring laid off workers.

The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits ticked down to 20 million. Another 9 million people continued to claim unemployment under the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program providing jobless benefits to workers previously not eligible for unemployment.

Some economists fear that the pace of layoffs will accelerate when the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, giving small businesses loans that can be partially forgiven if used to retain workers, runs out.


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