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More than 1 million Americans applied for jobless benefits, down 98,000 from last week

Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer
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 rebound from a springtime collapse.

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 most weeks 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.


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