Another 1.3 million individuals filed for unemployment last week, a decrease of approximately 10,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The number of total claims has been steadily decreasing for 15 weeks, from mid-Pandemic highs — when new unemployment claims topped 6 million — but are still far ahead of pre-pandemic numbers.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 11.9 percent for the week ending July 4, according to the report.
“The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment,” the report reads.
The news of more than 1 million new jobless claims comes as the enhanced unemployment benefits passed as part of the CARES Act are set to expire. Congress is expected to debate further relief in the coming weeks, but the Republican-led Senate has yet to signal that it’s interested in extending the additional $600 in federal unemployment.
Even as more Americans are out of work, retail and food services sales continue to increase and are above 2019 levels, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Estimates for U.S. retail and food services sales for June 2020 stood at $524.3 billion in June, a month-over-month increase of 7.5 percent and year-over-year increase of 1.1 percent.