Another 1.5 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, more than economists forecast

Unemployment applications are seen as City of Hialeah employees hand them out to people in front of the John F. Kennedy Library on April 08, 2020 in Hialeah, Florida
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims has once again declined while still remaining higher than anticipated.

The Labor Department on Thursday said 1.508 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, which is down from the 1.566 million jobless claims reported a week ago. That makes this the 11th week of declines, The Associated Press notes.

Still, it was more claims than economists forecast, as Bloomberg reports "the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 1.29 million initial claims," and according to CNBC, a Dow Jones survey also saw economists expecting 1.3 million claims. As CNBC notes, this is the 13th week in a row that unemployment claims have been above one million; before the pandemic, the record for most claims in a week was 695,000. Thursday's report also showed continuing claims declined to 20.5 million.

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"The continued influx of claims for jobless benefits more than three months into the pandemic is raising doubt among some economists that the U.S. will experience a rapid recovery," Politico writes. After a better-than-expected May jobs report, the Federal Reserve earlier this month projected the unemployment rate will stay above nine percent through the end of the year, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that even amid the reopenings around the country, "a full recovery is unlikely to occur until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.