Weekly unemployment claims fell last week to their lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began, although claims continue to be filed at a rate unprecedented before the U.S. outbreak began.
Initial jobless claims totaled 1.186 million for the week ending August 1, below the 1.42 million economists had expected and about 249,000 less than the previous week’s claims.
Continuing claims totaled 16.1 million, a drop of 844,000 from the previous week.
The previous record for initial jobless claims was a week in 1982 that saw 695,000 claims, far below the weekly levels seen during the pandemic.
As of July 18, a total of 32.1 million Americans have claimed jobless benefits as the economy sputters in the wake of business closures and other lockdown measures implemented in March when the coronavirus began to spread in the country.