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Expand chart
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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits

Hundreds of unemployed Kentucky residents wait in long lines outside the Kentucky Career Center for help with their unemployment claims on June 19, 2020, in Frankfort. Photo: John Sommers II/Getty Images

Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures at the end of July is already showing up in consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.

What happened: The reduced spending aligns with the expiration of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits, which provided an additional $600 per week to qualifying unemployed individuals.

Aug 13, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak is slowing down after a summer of explosive growth.

By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Aug 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

The statistics crisis

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you don't know how broken something is, you're not going to be able to fix it.

  • That's the crisis facing policymakers trying to repair a devastated economy without knowing the true degree to which the pandemic has hurt the country.