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U.S. weekly jobless claims remain high, second wave of layoffs blamed

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A second wave of layoffs amid weak demand and fractured supply chains is likely keeping new U.S. applications for unemployment benefits elevated, supporting views that the economy faces a long and difficult recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report on Thursday, the most timely data on the economy’s health, is expected to sketch a picture of continued labor market distress even though employers hired a record 2.5 million workers in May as businesses reopened after shuttering in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Millions are still collecting unemployment checks. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers this week that “significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery.” The economy fell into recession in February.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits likely totaled a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million for the week ended June 13, down from

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