Just over 1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the coronavirus outbreak continues to threaten jobs even as the housing market, auto sales, and other segments of the economy rebound from a springtime collapse, per the AP. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people seeking jobless aid last week dropped by 98,000 from 1.1 million the week before. The number of initial claims has exceeded 1 million every week but one since late March, an unprecedented streak. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they'd never topped 700,000 in a week.
"We're chipping away at the losses in terms of the number of jobs and some of the weaknesses there, but there's still a long ways to go," Sarah House of Wells Fargo Securities tells the Wall Street Journal. More than 14.5 million are collecting traditional jobless benefits, up from 1.7 million a year ago—a sign that many American families are depending on unemployment checks to keep them afloat. Until July 31, the unemployed were receiving an extra $600 a week in federal money on top of regular state unemployment benefits, part of an extraordinary lifeline extended to help them through the crisis. The loss of that money is putting the squeeze on many families. (Read more jobless claims stories.)