The number of initial jobless claims in the US fell slightly to 1.3 million last week but remained elevated, the Labor Department reported.
In the week ending July 11, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 10,000 from 1.31 million in the prior week, the Department was quoted as saying on Thursday by Xinhua news agency.
With the latest numbers, a staggering 51.3 million initial jobless claims have been filed over the past 17 weeks, according to Joseph Brusuelas, the chief economist at accounting and consulting firm RSM US LLP.
“It is the 17th straight week that initial claims have increased by more than 1 million. Once one accounts for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, claims increased by 2.2 million,” Brusuelas wrote in a blog post on Thursday.
“It is highly likely that various forms of unemployment insurance will expire in the coming days, so forward-looking investors should anticipate sustained initial claims data, with more than 30 million Americans remaining on some form of aid in the near term,” Brusuelas noted.
“Although initial claims have come down significantly from the record 6.87 million that was filed in late March, they remain frustratingly elevated in a historical context,” echoed Jay H. Bryson, the chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities.
Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Tuesday that it was “unclear” whether the pace of the recent labor-market recovery will be sustained as weekly COVID-19 cases in the US have been rising and some states are ramping up restrictions.
“The pace of improvement may slow if a large portion of the easiest gains from the lifting of mandated closures and easing of capacity constraints has already occurred,” she said.