Another 1.48 million people filed for unemployment even as states begin to reopen

by Oaklynn Adelina

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Another 1.48 million initial unemployment claims were filed in the week ending June 20, down 60,000 from the prior week.

Unemployment claims have fallen 12 consecutive weeks, however, that is hardly a reversal of fortunes when considering this marks 14 straight weeks with jobless claims topping a million. Before this pandemic, the U.S. had never topped 700,000 weekly claims. Since the start of the coronavirus shutdowns, a staggering 47.3 million people have filed for unemployment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

While weekly jobless claims once again topped 1 million, the total number of Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits—continued claims—actually fell another 767,000, to 19.5 million. As more states ease their shutdowns and employers start to rehire, the number of out-of-work Americans on the unemployment rolls has fallen 5.4 million from its peak of 24.9 million on May 9.

A continued fall in the number of Americans on state unemployment rolls points to an economy that has moved from a sharp recession to the beginning of a recovery. In May, the unemployment rate fell to 13.3% from its peak in 14.7% in April.

Nevada had the highest insured unemployment rate, with 22.6% of its labor force receiving jobless benefits. It was followed by Hawaii (18.3%), New York (17.8%), and Michigan (16.9%).

Americans currently on the unemployment rolls are receiving an additional $600 weekly in benefits on top of their state benefits. The 1.5 million who filed claims last week will still get this benefit, but only through July 31—unless the federal government extends it. The combination of an improving economy and political divides on the issue make it unlikely the $600 weekly benefits get extended.

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