By Noreen Burke
Investing.com – The number of Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to 1.5 million in the week ending June 13, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday, while the number of continuing claims remained above 20 million, underlining the view that the labor market faces a long and difficult recovery
The initial claims number was higher than forecasts for 1.3 million and was only slightly down from 1.54 million in the prior week. It snapped ten straight weeks of declines, as claims receded from a record peak of 6.87 million in late March. Still, claims are roughly double their peak during the 2007-09 Great Recession.
On Tuesday Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said, “significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery.” The economy fell into recession in February.
“People will say claims are coming down, but for an economy that is reopening, that is a huge number,” said Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard in New York.
“The economy is losing workers and employment beyond the initial impact tied to businesses that shut down. There are a lot of industries that are getting hurt and that’s starting to cascade down, that is what those numbers are showing.”
Continuing claims, which show the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid, came in above expectations at 20.54 million in the week ended June 6, down just slightly from 20.6 million a week earlier.
Continuing claims figures are reported with a one-week delay but are considered offering a better view of the labor market. Continuing claims initially eased from a record high of 24.91 million in early May but appear to have stalled even as business reopen and some hiring returns.
–Reuters contributed to this report
U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fall To 1.5M, Continuing Claims Stick Above 20M
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