New claims for unemployment benefits hovers at 884,000

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits hovered at the 884,000 mark for the second straight week as layoffs continue six months after the COVID-19 pandemic first flattened the economy. 

New claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 884,000 in the week ending September 4, according to the latest figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The latest figures match the number of applications received in the week prior. 

Though claims have dropped from a record 6.867 million at the end of March, layoffs persist across industries as many companies have exhausted loans from the government to help with wages and the coronavirus lingers. 

Still, the job market is improving sporadically amid the ongoing pandemic as portions of the economy have reopened and companies are recalling some workers they had temporarily laid off. 

Employers have so far added back about half the record 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic. 

New claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 884,000 in the week ending September 4, according to the latest figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday

New claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 884,000 in the week ending September 4, according to the latest figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday

Hiring, however, has slowed since June and a rising number of laid-off workers say they regard their job loss as permanent. The recovery of those jobs will likely take longer to achieve.

The government also said Thursday that 13.4 million people are continuing to receive traditional jobless benefits, up from 13.3 million the previous week. The increase suggests that hiring isn't occurring quickly enough to offset still-widespread layoffs. 

Hiring will likely remain restrained as long as Americans are unable or reluctant to resume their normal habits of shopping, traveling, dining out and engaging in other commerce. 

The rate of reported infections has dropped over the past several weeks but remains well above where it was during the spring. 

Most analysts say the economy won't likely be able to sustain a recovery until a vaccine is widely available. 

Last week, the government reported that the nation gained 1.4 million jobs in August, down from 1.7 million in July. It was the lowest monthly gain since hiring resumed in May. The unemployment rate sank from 10.2 percent to 8.4 percent, a drop that economists said mainly reflected businesses recalling workers who had

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