Thursday morning’s numbers show the 17th consecutive week of claims above the 1 million mark. Before the pandemic intensified in mid-March, the highest weekly figure on record was about 700,000.
Sales at retail stores and restaurants likely rose 5.4% in June, according to data provider FactSet. That would follow a record gain of nearly 18% in May as shops, restaurants and bars reopened after nationwide shutdowns in the previous months, when sales plummeted. Still, sales will likely remain sharply below their levels of a year ago. California, Florida and other states have closed down bars for a second time and barred indoor dining because cases are surging.
The resurgence of the virus and new business shutdowns in states such as Florida and California, along with signs that consumers are pulling back from eating out and other activities, has intensified fears that the economic recovery is losing steam.
The government’s employment report for June showed a solid gain of 4.8 million jobs and an unemployment rate that fell to 11.1% from 13.3%.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.