Another 1.48 million people applied for unemployment for the first time last week, a slight decrease from the week before and the 14th straight week that more than one million people have filed for unemployment.
Workers continue to file for jobless claims at record numbers, due to the economic shutdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. By contrast, in February the weekly claims were roughly 200,000 a week. The previous record was 695,000 jobless claims in 1982.
There are signs that some states are still dealing with the backlogs that plagued unemployment systems early in the crisis.
In Wisconsin, state officials have warned a backlog of unemployment claims could last until October. Kentucky's state capitol has been flooded with laid off workers who said they had not been paid since the beginning of the pandemic.
The numbers were higher than analysts' predictions, adding to a raft of bad news as the country struggles to rebound both economically and on a public health level from the coronavirus. As a slight glimmer of hope, the total number of people claiming unemployment last week sunk to 19.5 million, a drop of more than 750,000 from the week before.
The initial weekly unemployment claims have steadily declined from a weekly peak of 6.9 million at the end of March, which gave some economists hope that the worst of the pandemic's toll on the economy was over. But rising coronavirus cases in many parts of the country have begun to raise fears of continued shutdowns.
There are concerns about more issues when the supplemental $600 unemployment bonus runs out at the end July. While some lawmakers have expressed concerns that the payments are an incentive for some to remain unemployment, a study released this month by the Chicago Federal Reserve showed the opposite: that those collecting benefits search more than twice as intensely as those who have exhausted their benefits.
This article was written by Eli Rosenberg, a reporter for The Washington Post.