Another 1.5 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.
Millions are still out of work as states slowly begin to reopen. As of last week, 20.5 million people were still receiving unemployment benefits.
“The prolonged plateau of over 20 million continuing to claim UI benefits despite states reopening sends a strong signal that any labor market recovery will happen in fits and starts,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said Thursday morning.
“The labor market’s path to recovery is littered with obstacles that could smother the rebound, from the expiration of federal support for businesses and workers to depressed consumer demand to the resurgence in COVID-19 cases,” he added.
While the number of new layoffs have leveled off as pandemic restrictions ease, they have remained near record highs each week — in the millions — for more than three months.
New weekly unemployment filings peaked at 6.9 million during a week in late March. Prior to the pandemic the record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.
All told, some 45 million Americans have lost their job and filed for unemployment benefits at some point during the COVID-19 crisis.