Millions more people likely sought US jobless aid last week

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Washington: The government is set to provide its latest update Thursday on the waves of layoffs that have caused tens of millions of workers to lose their jobs in a US economy still paralysed by business shutdowns.

The Labor Department will likely announce that millions more people filed for unemployment benefits last week, after 33 million sought aid in the previous seven weeks as the coronavirus forced employers across the country to close.

Though most nonessential businesses remain shut down, most states have begun to ease restrictions for some categories of retail establishments despite concerns that it may be too soon to do so without causing new infections.

The number of first-time applications for jobless aid has declined for five straight weeks, suggesting that a dwindling number of companies are reducing their payrolls.

By historical standards, though, the number of weekly applications remains enormous, reflecting an economy that’s sinking into a severe recession.

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