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Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 1 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims for the 46th consecutive week last week, the Labor Department reported.

Why it matters: There is no historical precedent for the ongoing rate of job losses in the U.S.

  • The country is now just six weeks from going a full year with more than a million people filing for unemployment every week.
  • Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. had seen 1 million unemployment claims reported just once in the history of the Labor Department's data — the week ending Jan. 9, 1982, when 1,073,500 claims were filed.

The intrigue: While the unemployment rate has continued to decline since the middle of 2020, the number of companies reporting layoffs has been increasing in recent months as has the number of people filing for unemployment benefits.

  • Job cuts in January increased from December, which saw an increase from November, according to the latest report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
  • The firm counted 2.3 million job cuts in 2020, but only about half were due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The last word: "It's hard to understate the extreme disruption that is still ongoing in the labor market," MacroPolicy Perspectives president Julia Coronado tells Axios.

  • "For almost a year initial claims for unemployment benefits have exceeded the highest levels seen in the Great Recession."
  • "Net job creation has slowed ... and it is way too soon to settle into a slower pace of job creation given the deep hole we are still in. At this rate, it will take many years just to restore what was lost let alone add new jobs for a growing population."

Go deeper

Lawmakers call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire amid aerial bombardments

Combination images of Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images/Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and 28 Senate Democrats on Sunday called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as fighting continued into the night.

Driving the news: In the first bipartisan call for a ceasefire, Young, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, joined its Chair Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) a statement saying: "Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas' rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing.

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.