WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. government is set to sketch its latest picture Thursday of the layoffs that have left tens of millions of people unemployed but have slowed as states increasingly allow businesses to reopen.
Even with companies calling some laid-off employees back to work, millions more likely filed for unemployment benefits last week after nearly 39 million sought aid in the previous nine weeks as the coronavirus paralyzed the economy.
The pace of layoffs has declined for seven straight weeks, a sign that the cratering of the job market may have bottomed out. By historical standards, though, the number of weekly applications remains enormous.
The job cuts reflect an economy that was seized by the worst downturn since the Great Depression after the virus forced the widespread shutdown of businesses. The economy is thought to be shrinking in the April-June quarter at an annual rate approaching 40%. That would be, by far, the worst quarterly contraction on record.