US jobless claims last week totalled to nearly 1.5 mn

The number of jobless claims in the US totalled to 1.48 million last week, despite continuous reopening efforts across the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Department said.

In the week ending June 20, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 60,000 from the prior week to 1,480,000, the 12th weekly decline in a row but still a historic high, Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as saying in a report on Thursday.

With the latest numbers, a staggering 47 million initial jobless claims have been filed over the past 14 weeks, as the COVID-19-induced recession sends ripples through the labour market, indicating a mounting economic fallout.

Thursday;s report also showed that the four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 160,750 to reach 1.6 million.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 13 were in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, New York and Louisiana.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 12.3 per cent for the week ending June 13, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the prior week, the report showed.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending June 6 was 30.6 million, an increase of 1,294,309 from the previous week, according to the report.

Also on Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that economic activity in the first quarter contracted at an annual rate of 5.0 per cent in the third, or final, estimate, unrevised from the second estimate.

Several US states have recently seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases, as businesses continue to resume operations across the nation, casting a shadow over the current path to reopening and raising uncertainty over the prospect of economic recovery.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday revised down its forecast for the global economy amid mounting COVID-19 fallout, projecting a 4.9-per cent contraction in 2020.

The US economy is expected to shrink by 8 per cent this year, according to the IMF.