WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 1.3 million Americans applied for weekly unemployment insurance, a historically high rate showing that many employers continue to lay off staff in the face of a resurgence of the coronavirus.
The persistently high level of layoffs is recorded as an increase in COVID-19 infections has forced authorities in six states to reverse their decision to reopen businesses. Those six states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and Texas — represent about a third of the United States‘ economy. Another 15 states have suspended their reopens. Collectively, the change in plans has slowed a tentative recovery in the labor market and is likely to trigger more layoffs.
Thursday’s Labor Department report revealed that the number of jobless claims fell from 1.4 million a week earlier. The amount exceeds one million for the 16th consecutive week. Before the pandemic, the all-time high for weekly unemployment aid claims was below 700,000.
The total number of people receiving aid decreased by 700,000 to 18 million, suggesting that some companies are re-hiring workers.
A million more people applied for aid last week through a separate program for self-employment and odd-time employees who are eligible for this aid for the first time. These figures are not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the government does not include them in the official count.
Americans are applying for unemployment financial aid against the backdrop of a worrying increase in confirmed coronavirus infections, with increases recorded in 38 states. Case counting has accelerated particularly in four states that now account for more than half of new infections reported in the United States: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.
The intensification of the outbreak and a series of more severe restrictions on the part of the authorities have slowed down economic activity in much of the country and could be a factor affecting hiring. The government jobs report for June showed a solid gain of 4.8 million jobs and an unemployment rate that fell to 11.1% from 13.3%.
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