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

Another 1.9 million people filed for unemployment last week, the Department of Labor said on Thursday.

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic is still putting a historic strain on the labor market, though the pace of unemployment applications continues to slow.

  • The number of jobless applications has steadily declined after peaking at 6.9 million in late March.
  • For comparison, the record number of filings before the pandemic was set in 1982, when 695,000 people filed for unemployment.
  • Without taking seasonal factors into account, 1.6 million Americans applied for unemployment last week.

Worth noting: Not included in the headline figures are the people who filed for unemployment under a new program created by the CARES Act that extends benefits to gig and self-employed workers.

  • A total of 623,000 people across 36 states applied for that program last week.

By the numbers: Continued claims, which show how many Americans are still receiving unemployment benefits after initially applying, edged higher to 21.5 million. This figure reports with a 2-week lag.

  • Meanwhile, another 10.7 million are continuing to receive benefits under the gig worker program as of May 16 (the latest data available), roughly 3 million more than the week before that.
  • Economists are watching for consistent drops in continued claims, which would suggest a strong flow of Americans are going back to work.

Between the lines: State labor departments across the country have been overwhelmed by the never-before-seen wave of unemployment filings.

  • Bloomberg reported this week that almost one-third of unemployment benefits that were supposed to be paid out to workers hadn't arrived yet.

What's next: The May jobs report — out Friday morning — will give a better picture of how many workers were out of a job last month.

  • The unemployment rate is estimated to spike to 19.8%.

The bottom line: A historically high number of Americans are still applying for jobless aid, at the same time that nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality continue to mount following George Floyd's death.

Go deeper

Stimulus outlook takes a hit even as coronavirus cases skyrocket

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic is getting worse, and the question is whether the economic recovery will go with it.

Why it matters: America adding 7.5 million jobs over the last two months pales in comparison to 20+ million lost over the two months prior.

Jul 2, 2020 - Health

Cash can't fix the economy's problems until the coronavirus is curbed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's plenty of money. It's just not moving to where it's needed.

Driving the news: Thursday's jobs report showed 4.8 million jobs created in June, but those were overwhelmingly people beginning to return to places where they had been temporarily laid off. The number of "permanent job losers" went up, not down, rising 25% in just one month to 2.8 million from 2.2 million.

12 mins ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.