First-time claims for unemployment benefits have fallen in every report for the past 12 weeks. Still, the American jobs crisis is far from over: Another 1.5 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week.
That's emblematic of how contradictory the current pandemic recession is. Conditions in the US labor market are undoubtedly improving, but the road to recovery is long and littered with obstacles.
Last week's new jobless claims brought the total claims filed since the mid-March to 47.3 million.
And that massive number doesn't include claims filed under the pandemic program that Congress created to provide benefits to more workers who typically aren't eligible for unemployment benefits, including the self-employed.
At least 728,000 people claimed first-time pandemic unemployment assistance, the Department of Labor said Thursday.
Continued regular jobless claims, which count people who have filed for unemployment benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 19.5 million.