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New unemployment claims fall below 1 million for first time since March

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Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – New unemployment claims fell below one million last week for the first time since government restrictions were put in place in March that closed or limited businesses deemed nonessential to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 963,000 Americans filed initial unemployment claims in the week ending Aug. 8. That's a drop of 228,000 claims from the previous week, when 1.186 million new claims were filed.

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Continued claims, which count those who have filed for unemployment benefits at least two weeks in a row, are at 15.5 million.

"The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 10.6 percent for the week ending August 1, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate," the department said in a news release.

While last week's claims are the lowest in more than five months, when the economy was shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the numbers still remain significantly above pre-pandemic claims.