1.2M jobless claims filed last week, marking 20 straight weeks of more than a million

The number of new applications for unemployment benefits last week was 1.2 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday, marking the 20th straight week that claims have been over 1 million. It is also the lowest number of new claims since the pandemic hit the U.S.

Economists predicted that new claims would be 1.42 million.

The weekly totals for workers claiming jobless benefits have been extremely high since the pandemic hit the United States. For comparison, weekly jobless claims pre-coronavirus were in the 200,000 range for the entire country. Now, California alone had over 244,000 initial claims for the week ending July 25.

The persistently high number of claims suggests that the jobs recovery is moving at a slow pace.