1.2 million laid-off workers seek US jobless aid as layoffs remain elevated amid resurgence of virus

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Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:43 AM MDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) - With the nation still gripped by an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases, unemployment applications again remained above 1 million last week, continuing a trend that started with the pandemic in March.

According to the latest report by the U.S. Labor Department, nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week.

The Labor Department’s report marked the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Before the pandemic hit hard in March, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never surpassed 700,000 in a week, not even during the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

In a sliver of good news, the new jobless claims were down by 249,000 from the previous week after rising for two straight weeks.

The latest string of layoffs follows the expiration of a $600 weekly federal jobless payment that provided critical support for many of the unemployed. Members of Congress are locked in prolonged negotiations over a new rescue aid package that might extend that unemployment benefit, though likely at a lower level of payment.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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