Weekly Jobless Claims Remain Stubbornly High

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The number of Americans receiving jobless benefits was near 1.5 million again last week as businesses continue to struggle with reopening and rehiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.48 million Americans filed jobless claims for the week ended June 20, down slightly from the revised 1.5 million claims for the week earlier. Economists polled by FactSet had been expecting 1.325 million claims.

Continuing claims, which is the number of people not just filing but staying on unemployment benefits, came in at at 19.5 million for the week ended June 13. The continuing claims numbers are reported with a one-week lag, but are considered a better gauge of the labor market.

The number of applications for benefits has slowly decreased from a late March peak of close to 7 million but still remains well above anything seen in history - roughly 1.5 million a week in recent weeks.

While some signs of economic growth have emerged, including a May rebound in retail spending, an uptick in new Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations over the past week has cast doubt on whether some businesses are opening too soon, in turn raising the specter that companies may continue to push off rehiring plans.

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