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

Americans lost their jobs at a frenetic pace beginning in March, as unemployment figures rocketed to never-before-seen totals, but they are not coming back nearly as quickly, data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows.

Why it matters: While the number of claims has fallen, nearly 35 million Americans were receiving or had applied for some kind of unemployment insurance as of June 13.

  • Those numbers are especially shocking given that businesses have been reopened in certain parts of the U.S. for close to a month after government-imposed lockdowns.
  • “Labor market problems have shifted away from mass closings and layoffs in immediate response to shutdown orders, and toward still-catastrophic numbers of new layoffs related to the long-term, reverberating effects of a recession,” Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, told Reuters.

Driving the news: The Labor Department found another 1.51 million Americans filed new applications for traditional jobless benefits last week, down slightly from 1.57 million applications the week before.

Watch this space: The number of people applying for benefits via the government's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program increased by nearly 60,000 last week.

  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program saw claims rise by close to half a million for the week ended May 30.

Go deeper

U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, according to government data released Thursday.

The state of play: While the labor market showed more signs of recovery when the government’s survey period ended in early June, the lag means that more recent developments, like the surge in coronavirus cases and resultant closures in some states, aren't captured in this data.

People of color and those with the lowest incomes are most likely to be relying on unemployment

Photo: John Sommers II/Getty Images

Workers of color, women and the lowest-income people are more likely to be relying on unemployment benefits this month, according to projections released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The weekly unemployment claims report doesn't have a demographic breakdown of who's receiving unemployment aid.

Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday called June’s jobs report “positive news,” but warned that the worst is yet to come and accused President Trump of "giving up" on addressing the root public health causes of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The Labor Department reported Thursday morning that the economy added 4.8 million jobs last month and that the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% — down from 13.3%.