The number of initial jobless claims recorded last week stood at 1.3 million, down just 10,000 from the previous week and signaling a possible stall in labor market recovery.
While initial claims have declined drastically since the coronavirus pandemic caused mass closures of businesses, the decline has leveled off in recent weeks, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. The week of July 4 saw 1,310,000 initial claims, while the week of June 27 saw 1,408,000 such claims.
Continuing unemployment claims stood nationally at about 17.3 million, or almost 12 percent unemployment. Those figures also show signs of leveling off, with 12.2 percent continuing unemployment for the week of July 4 and 12.9 percent for the week of June 27.
Coronavirus has forced mandatory closures of sites where people congregate, including restaurants, movie theaters, offices, and others. Outbreaks have escalated in recent weeks in states across the south and west of the U.S., leading to reimposition of closures in California and Texas and mandatory face mask orders in states including Alabama.
Amid mass economic dislocation, various U.S. banks are setting aside billions of dollars to prepare for fallout from a recession. JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo have set aside a collective $28 billion to prepare for loan defaults and falling revenues.
“This is not a normal recession,” JPMorgan chief executive James Dimon told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “The recessionary part of this you’re going to see down the road.”