US jobless claims continue gradual decline, remain elevated

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – Applications for United States unemployment benefits continued to only gradually ease last week despite a stream of business reopenings, underscoring the longer-term labor-market challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 1.54 million in the week ended June 6, down from 1.9 million in the prior week, Labor Department figures showed on Thursday (June 11).

Applications for unemployment insurance have fallen consistently each week since peaking at the end of March, but the volume of weekly filings is still more than double the worst week during the Great Recession.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 1.55 million initial claims in the latest week.

Continuing claims – the total number of Americans claiming ongoing unemployment benefits in state programs – decreased by less than estimated to 20.9 million in the week ended May 30. Those figures are reported with a one-week lag.

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