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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Hiring picks up in these industries as coronavirus layoffs ease and states reopen

Even as COVID-19-related layoffs remain at historically bleak levels, another trend is quietly taking root: Businesses are starting to hire again.

All 50 states have begun allowing nonessential businesses to reopen in phases, prompting restaurants, shops, hair salons and others to rehire at least some of the employees they laid off or furloughed to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Many small businesses received federal loans that are forgivable as long as they retain or rehire staffers.

Job postings in those and other industries are also picking up, underscoring that firms seek to tap a broader pool of workers, including the roughly 30 million Americans who are unemployed. Hiring in fields that have benefited from the pandemic is surging.

The economy unexpectedly added 2.5 million jobs in May as employers rehired laid-off workers, the Labor Department reported Friday. Eight million payroll losses were expected. Although 9.3 million workers lost jobs

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