There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans now drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million.
The figures come amid an intensifying debate in Congress over whether to extend $600 in extra weekly federal unemployment benefits, provided under rescue legislation passed in March but set to expire July 31.
Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, told Politico that about half the people who have applied for benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns began have received them, while others are stuck waiting as overwhelmed state agencies with sometimes unreliable websites and processes try to keep up.
More than 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, the 10th straight week that jobless claims have been in the millions as the coronavirus continues to cripple the economy.
Another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday morning.
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But the number of US workers filing for unemployment benefits is still extraordinarily high by historical standards, and that suggests businesses are failing or permanently downsizing, not just laying off people until the crisis can pass, economists warn.
The Tennessee Department of Labor has released county-level unemployment numbers for the month of April, and the new figures are mind-boggling.
Many may see the decline as a turning point in the jobless market as states discuss reopening. Many workers are making more through state and federal unemployment benefits than they were working and have chosen to stay home instead of risking catching the virus.
To combat unemployed workers staying home, Sen.
Around 40 percent of all workers could earn more while unemployed than by returning to their previous job, according to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.