As rising coronavirus cases pushed some states to reverse course and reimpose shutdown orders on businesses, 1.3 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, the government reported on Thursday.
The number of new claims has been declining since early April, but the weekly total is still far above records from previous downturns.
Another one million new claims were filed last week under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is designed to funnel jobless benefits to freelancers, self-employed and other workers normally ineligible for state unemployment insurance.
Hiring nationwide has picked up in recent weeks, and the overall jobless rate dipped in June to 11.1 percent from a peak of 14.7 percent in April. But most of the payroll gains were because of the rehiring of workers temporarily laid off. The pool of workers whose previous jobs have disappeared and who must search for new ones has grown.
“Their circumstances may be more challenging to rectify than those who were laid off because of a temporary closure,” said Elizabeth Akers, who was a staff economist with the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. “Finding new jobs will be more difficult. There’s been scarring in the economy.”