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Data: U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Another 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Why it matters: Jobless claims have swelled to roughly 33.5 million in the past seven weeks since coronavirus-driven lockdowns began — and, even as states begin to open back up, workers are still losing their jobs at a staggering rate.

Between the lines: Last week's numbers are the lowest level of claims since the crisis began, but even though the pace of layoffs are slowing, we're still seeing historically and painfully high unemployment applications on a weekly basis.

  • Before the coronavirus, the record number of weekly claims was 695,000 — back in 1982.

By the numbers: One notable figure shows how many Americans have yet to return to work after initially filing for unemployment.

  • Continuing claims — which shows how many Americans remain on unemployment rolls within two weeks of first applying — rose to 22.6 million.

The bottom line: The coronavirus is ravaging the job market in a way that's never been seen before in U.S. history.

  • In less than two months, roughly 20% of the labor force has lost their job.

Go deeper

Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted on "Fox News Sunday" that President Trump's executive orders on coronavirus aid were cleared by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, and said that Democrats are going to "have a lot of explaining to do" if they choose to challenge them in court.

Why it matters: Democrats and even some Republicans have criticized Trump's decision to circumvent Congress to extend unemployment benefits as executive overreach, given that the Constitution gives Congress power to appropriate spending.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

Updated 56 mins ago - World

Trump admin: Jimmy Lai's arrest marks Beijing's "latest violation" on Hong Kong

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong in June. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement Monday night the Trump administration is "deeply troubled" by the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai on suspicion of "collusion with foreign powers."

Why it matters: The arrest Monday of the most prominent person under the new national security law that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.