More than 1 million Americans applied for jobless benefits

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Just over 1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the coronavirus outbreak continues to threaten jobs even as the housing market, auto sales and other segments of the economy are showing a rebound.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people seeking jobless aid last week dropped by 98,000 from 1.1 million the week before.

The number of initial claims has exceeded 1 million every week but one since late March. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they never topped 700,000 in a week.

More than 14.5 million are collecting traditional jobless benefits — up from 1.7 million a year ago — a sign that many American families are depending on unemployment checks to keep them afloat.

Until July 31, the unemployed were receiving an extra $600 a week in federal money on top of regular state unemployment benefits, part of an extraordinary lifeline extended to help them through the crisis.

Last week, nearly 608,000 people applied for jobless aid under a new program that extends eligibility for the first time to self-employed and gig workers, up from 525,000 the previous week. That figure isn’t adjusted for seasonal trends, so it’s reported separately.

Altogether, the Labor Department said that 27 million people are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, though the figure may be inflated by double-counting by states.

Employers added nearly 9.3 million jobs in May, June and July — but that hiring surge replaced just 42% of the jobs lost in March and April.

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