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More than 2 million seek jobless aid, barely budging from prior week

COVID-19 cases climbing in 41 states
COVID-19 cases climbing in 41 states 04:10

More than 2 million Americans sought jobless aid in the week ending July 11, reinforcing concerns that the economic recovery is stalling as coronavirus cases surge across the South and West.

About 1.3 million people applied for unemployment aid in the week ending July 11, a figure essentially unchanged from the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday. Another 928,000 applied for special aid for freelancers and the self-employed, a drop of 117,000 from the week before.

Initial jobless claims increased in 33 states, with Texas, New Jersey, Louisiana, Maryland and New York showing the biggest jumps. More than 22 states have paused or reversed plans to reopen their economies as coronavirus cases have surged in recent weeks.

"It's clear that the path of the virus and the economic recovery are closely intertwined," economists at Bank of America Global Research said in a note.

About 1 in 5 workers, or 32 million people, was receiving some sort of jobless assistance as of the end of June. That figure has remained stubbornly high despite increases in employment in May and June.

Companies are still cutting jobs. American Airlines warned its workers Wednesday that it may have to cut up to 25,000 jobs in October because of sharply reduced air travel. Airlines are barred from layoffs until then as a condition of federal aid they have received. United Airlines has already told 36,000 workers they may lose their jobs.

"Bottom line: While the worst is probably behind us, the global recovery remains weak and subject to further downside risks," IHS Markit said in a note.

The Associated Press contributed reporting. 

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