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Layoffs stuck at high level as 1.3 million seek unemployment benefits

Layoffs stuck at high level as 1.3 million seek unemployment benefits
Posted at 8:47 AM, Jul 09, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a historically high pace that shows that many employers are still laying people off in the face of a resurgent coronavirus.

In the week ending July 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,314,000, a decrease of 99,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

The persistently elevated level of layoffs is occurring as a spike in virus cases has forced six states to reverse their move to reopen businesses.

Those six — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Texas — make up one-third of the U.S. economy. Fifteen other states have suspended their reopenings.

Collectively, the pullback has stalled a tentative recovery in the job market and is likely triggering additional layoffs.

A resurgence of confirmed viral cases is threatening to derail what had looked like the start of an economic recovery. The economy and the job market may struggle to sustain any gains amid the surge in new reported infections.

The jobs report comes after the U.S. surpassed 3 million COVID-19 cases this week, according to an ongoing tally by Johns Hopkins University. America continues to lead the world in confirmed cases.