U.S. weekly jobless claims seen declining further, but millions still unemployed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Layoffs in the United States are abating, but millions who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 continue to draw unemployment benefits, suggesting the labor market could take years to heal from the pandemic even as businesses resume hiring workers. FILE PHOTO: Construction workers assemble a scaffold at a job site, as phase…

U.S. weekly jobless claims seen declining further, but millions still unemployed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Layoffs in the United States are abating, but millions who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 continue to draw unemployment benefits, suggesting the labor market could take years to heal from the pandemic even as businesses resume hiring workers. FILE PHOTO: Construction workers assemble a scaffold at a job site, as phase one of reopening after lockdown begins, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid The weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday, the most timely data on the economy’s health, will follow news last Friday of a surprise 2.5 million increase in nonfarm payrolls in May. It could reinforce views that the labor market has weathered the worst of the turbulence. The Federal Reserve signaled on Wednesday it would provide years of extraordinary support for the economy, with policymakers projecting a 9.3% unemployment rate at year end. The unemployment rate has jumped from 3.5% in February and was at 13.3% in May. “The steady retreat in claims is a positive development, but the labor market has suffered a traumatic blow and a full recovery will be measured in years, not weeks or months,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics in New York. “The figures don’t capture the full extent of the blow dealt to workers during this unique crisis.” New applications for state unemployment benefits likely to
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