The government reported on Thursday that nearly 1.2 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week. It was the lowest weekly total since March, but signaled the continuing damage that the pandemic is inflicting on the labor market.
An additional 656,000 claims were filed by freelancers, part-time workers and others who do not qualify for regular state jobless aid but are eligible for benefits under a separate federal unemployment insurance program, the Labor Department announced on Thursday. Unlike the state figures, that number is not seasonally adjusted.
The number of new claims is down from the stratospheric levels reached in the early days of the pandemic, but the million-plus tallies that have continued for 20 weeks in a row are still extraordinarily high by historical standards.