WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government will provide its latest report Thursday on the pace of layoffs, which have remained stuck at a high level since the viral pandemic erupted five months ago.
Though the rate of applications for unemployment benefits has reached its lowest point since March, it has exceeded 1 million for 20 straight weeks — well above the record high that predated the pandemic.
The virus has continued to debilitate the economy. The number of new confirmed cases has declined over the past couple of weeks but is still far above the levels that prevailed in May and June. Twenty-three states have paused or reversed their business re-openings.
The latest string of layoffs follows the expiration of a $600 weekly federal payment that provided critical support for millions of laid-off Americans. Negotiations in Congress to extend that benefit, likely at a lower level of payment, have collapsed in rancor.