(The Center Square) - The nation's unemployment rate continues its slow decline even as more than 1.3 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week.
According to U.S. Department of Labor data released Thursday, 1,314,000 new claims were filed for the week ending July 4, a decrease of 99,000 from the previous week but still a significant number compared to pre-pandemic unemployment numbers.
Continued claims, which count workers who have filed claims for at least two weeks in a row, were at 18.1 million for the week ending June 27, a decrease of 698,000 from the previous week's revised level.
The unemployment rate in the last full week of June was 12.4 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from the previous week's revised rate.
In the 14 weeks since states issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, more than 48 million claims for unemployment benefits have been filed. Millions of Americans have since gone back to work as states allowed businesses deemed non-essential early on during the pandemic have been allowed to reopen under certain conditions.
The labor department announced last week that the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, breaking a record that was set just in May.
California once again led the nation in new unemployment claims last week, with 267,123.