Another 1.3 million people filed first-time claims for unemployment aid last week in the US, according to the Department of Labor.
Weekly jobless claims have been falling for more than three months since their peak in the last week of March. That's a good sign, because it means fewer people are finding themselves newly in need for benefits. But the claims remain stubbornly high and aren't trending downward as quickly as economists would like.
Continued claims, which count workers who have filed claims for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 18.1 million.
Economists have shifted their focus to continued claims earlier this summer, saying it's a better indicator of how many people are returning to work versus staying on benefits. But again the number is trending down slowly, and that doesn't bode well for the economic recovery.
Reopening plans: On top of that, many states have paused their economic reopening schedules following a rise in Covid-19 infections. That might keep people at home for longer, when they would have otherwise returned to work in later reopening phases.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's latest CFO survey found that the average surveyed business didn't expect to get back to its pre-pandemic employment level until the end of 2021.