1.5 million more US workers file for unemployment insurance

More than 40 millions are out of work because of the pandemic.

June 18, 2020, 9:00 AM

Another 1.5 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

Millions are still out of work as states slowly begin to reopen. As of last week, 20.5 million people were still receiving unemployment benefits.

Pedestrians pass an office location for the New York State Department of Labor, June 11, 2020, in New York.
Frank Franklin Ii/AP

"The prolonged plateau of over 20 million continuing to claim UI benefits despite states reopening sends a strong signal that any labor market recovery will happen in fits and starts," Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said Thursday morning.

"The labor market’s path to recovery is littered with obstacles that could smother the rebound, from the expiration of federal support for businesses and workers to depressed consumer demand to the resurgence in COVID-19 cases," he added.

Thousands line up outside a temporary unemployment office established by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet at the State Capitol Annex in Frankfort, Ky., June 17, 2020.
Bryan Woolston/Reuters

While the number of new layoffs have leveled off as pandemic restrictions ease, they have remained near record highs each week -- in the millions -- for more than three months.

New weekly unemployment filings peaked at 6.9 million during a week in late March. Prior to the pandemic the record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.

All told, some 45 million Americans have lost their job and filed for unemployment benefits at some point during the COVID-19 crisis.