Another 1.5 million US workers file for unemployment insurance

New jobless claims have been in the millions each week for over three months.

Nearly 1.5 million U.S. workers filed jobless claims last week, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

While new weekly unemployment filings have been slowly decreasing since peaking in late March, they have remained at historically high levels for over three months.

New jobless claims have topped 1 million for 14 straight weeks. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.

While many have begun returning to work, some 19.5 million workers are still receiving unemployment insurance.

"Three months into the unprecedented economic downturn ignited by the COVID-19 outbreak, the nation’s job market is mired in uncharted and heartbreaking territory. The highly elevated but declining levels of new and continuing unemployment claims suggest tens of millions of Americans are still in dire straits," Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate, said Thursday.

Hamrick noted that new unemployment claims have now declined for 12 straight weeks but have remained above a million for 14 consecutive weeks.

"It might well be that the worst of the economic downturn is behind. But the ultimate cure for what ails the economy is linked to medical solutions such as vaccines which are progressing, but still apparently months away from widespread availability," Hamrick said.

This week's unemployment figures also comes amid concerning rises in COVID-19 cases in states that have begun reopening their economies.

In California, COVID-19 cases saw a stunning 69% jump in just two days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. Florida on Wednesday reported its highest one-day increase of coronavirus cases.

Economists at the IMF on Wednesday predicted a much slower recovery than previously forecast, expecting economic growth in the U.S. will plummet by 8% in 2020.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.