2.4M more Americans join jobless rolls, pushing pandemic total to 38.6M

Layoffs fueled by the coronavirus pandemic continue to mount, even as more states allow businesses to reopen after ordering them to shut to slow the spread of the virus.

About 2.4 million Americans filed initial unemployment benefit claims last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as the health and economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus ruptures a growing number of industries.

In just nine weeks, 38.6 million have sought jobless benefits that represent the nation’s most reliable gauge of layoffs.

There were encouraging signs in the labor report. The latest claims tally was down from the 3 million who filed claims the week before, and the record 6.9 million who sought assistance in late March. Initial applications for unemployment insurance have now steadily declined seven weeks in a row.