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Jobless Claims Hold Steady As Recovery Stalls

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TOPLINE

Another 837,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week, the fifth week in a row that claims have remained close to this level, which is much lower than the astronomical unemployment claims earlier this spring (one week in March saw 6.9 million people file) but still incredibly high by historical standards.

KEY FACTS

Last week’s data do not include numbers from California, which has implemented a two-week pause in claims processing while it catches up on a backlog and improves its computer system—this means that the data reported by the Labor Department Thursday is at least slightly too low. 

For the four weeks prior to last week, new weekly claims also clocked in somewhere between 800,000 and 900,000 people, indicating that the labor market’s recovery has slowed significantly since the summer.

Before the coronavirus crisis, the record for the most weekly claims was 695,000 during a single week in 1982. 

BIG NUMBER

26.5 million. That’s how many people are collecting some form of government unemployment benefit.