More than 2.4 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, bringing the total number of people who've lost their jobs amid the economic fallout due to the coronavirus to 38.6 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
While the number of initial filings for unemployment benefits remain at some of their highest levels in history, they are showing a downward trend after hitting a peak of 6.8 million unemployment claims for the week ending March 28.
Continuing claims - or the number of people who continue to draw unemployment benefits, has reached a new record of 25 million people.
"With a ninth straight week of new weekly jobless claims being counted in the millions, although at a lower level than before, one might be tempted to focus on the continuing decline," Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate told NBC News. "But at 2.4 million new claims last week, this number of new claims alone is about equal to the population of the city of Houston, Texas."
The month of May saw some of the largest job losses in history as many companies were forced to layoff or furlough workers amid stay-at-home orders that required businesses to shutter their doors.
The officials unemployment figure has reached more than 20 million, representing a total loss of all the job gains since the Great Recession in 2008.
State labor departments have also been frantically trying to keep up with the backlog of jobless claims after the surge in unemployment claims crashed antiquated systems used by the states to distribute benefits.
Photo: Getty Images