1.2 million seek jobless aid after $600 federal check ends

Missouri reported 10,829 initial unemployment claims for the week ending Aug. 1.

That number released by the labor department on Thursday represents the lowest weekly requests since the pandemic hit, but it’s still historically high.

ORIGINAL STORY:

(AP) — Nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, evidence that the coronavirus keeps forcing companies to slash jobs just as a critical $600 weekly federal jobless payment has expired.

The government’s report did offer a smidgen of hopeful news: The number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March.

Still, the pace remains at alarmingly high levels: It is the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought jobless aid. Before the pandemic hit hard, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never surpassed 700,000 in a week.

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