New unemployment claims are out, and they're a smidge better than expected, reports CNBC. As in, 1.31 million people applied for jobless benefits last week, compared with the expected figure of 1.39 million. The AP has some coronavirus context: This marks the 16th straight week the figure has topped 1 million, and prior to the outbreak, the record for weekly applications was about 700,000. That the figure has "plateaued" at these levels—after peaking at 6.9 million in March—shows that "many Americans are still losing their jobs amid a broadly healing labor market," per the Wall Street Journal. The Labor Department also said the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell by 700,000 to 18 million.
“We still have a long road ahead of us,” Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab tells CNBC. “These are definitely good numbers, but this is going to be a long and bumpy road.” That the total number of people receiving benefits dropped is a sign that some employers are rehiring workers, though the outlook is spotty because of COVID-19. The new figures came out as six states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and Texas—reversed plans to reopen businesses, and these states alone make up one-third of the economy, notes the AP. (Workers at United Airlines got bad news on Wednesday.)