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1.5 million more laid-off workers seek unemployment benefits

Another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing 13-week total to 45 million
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 09:06:44-04

WASHINGTON — The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1.5 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment during the week ending June 13, bringing a 13-week total to about 45 million claims.

Thursday's figures were down about 58,000 from last week's unemployment filings.

Weekly claims for unemployment have been falling for nearly three straight months after peaking at about 6 million a week in late March. But weekly unemployment claims remain historically high.

This even as the economy increasingly reopens and employers bring some people back to work.

The latest figure from the Labor Department marks the 11th straight weekly decline in applications since they peaked at nearly 7 million in March as the coronavirus shut down much of the economy and caused tens of millions of layoffs.

Prior to the pandemic, the record high for weekly unemployment claims came in 2006, when 665,000 people filed for unemployment. The Department of Labor has been tracking the statistics since 1967.

Economists often use weekly unemployment claims as a reliable tool when predicting unemployment. However, some surveys indicate that initial weekly claims may be underestimating the amount of those unemployed.

At least one survey from the Economic Policy Institute found that millions of Americans gave up trying to seek benefits or didn't even attempt to due to states' overwhelmed and antiquated unemployment systems.