The crush of unemployment is still bearing down on the battered U.S. economy.
Nearly 1.9 million people applied for unemployment support last week, according to the Labor Department’s latest reading.
That is down from the nearly 7 million people who applied for unemployment over a single week in late March, but still widely above the approximately 200,000 people a week added to the jobless rolls before the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the past 11 weeks, about 42.9 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits, which have been bolstered by Washington to help see the nation through the COVID-19 crisis.
Some of those people who applied for unemployment have been able to go back to work, but many are still sitting on the sidelines.
The total number of people on unemployment rolls increased by 649,000 to 21.5 million. On Friday, the government will offer a fuller picture of the jobs market with figures for all of May.
Rather than a quick bounceback after a temporary disturbance, the COVID-19 fallout is expected to linger for a long time.
The Congressional Budget Office revised its 10-year economic projection this week, noting the nation’s economic output would be $15.7 trillion less over this decade than it projected in January.
Just when the employment market will stabilize is a vital question for the economy and retailers, which have started to reopen from the COVID-19 shutdown, but are finding slower traffic in stores as consumers seek to stay safe.
Getting back to business is also a complicated task these days with the nation still worried over the pandemic and newly aflame with deep-seeded anger over institutional racism following instances of police brutality.
The disturbances and looting that have followed the largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have some stores and companies that were tentatively going to reopen to remain closed.