The head of the U.S. central bank this week warned of "significant uncertainty" regarding the recovery and told Congress he thought further economic relief would be necessary. But these so-called continued claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, also appear to have since stalled. This constituted a drop of 58,000 from the previous week, although that week's level was revised up from 1,542,000 to 1,566,000.
More than 45 million people have now filed for unemployment in the nation since the coronavirus pandemic began to batter the economy in March.
Continued layoffs amid weak demand and fractured supply chains are likely keeping new applications for unemployment benefits elevated, feeding into the view that the economy faces a long and hard recovery from the pandemic-fueled recession.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program claims, which include those who were previously ineligible for unemployment insurance such as self-employed and contracted workers, was closely monitored in Thursday's report.
Continuing claims - the total number of Americans claiming ongoing unemployment benefits in state programs - decreased to 20.5 million in the week ended June 6, compared with a median projection of 19.9 million.
A separate report Thursday showed manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly expanded in June.
Almost $415 million unemployment benefits have been paid since mid-March. The claims report showed continuing claims dropped 62,000 to 20.544 million the week ending June 6, suggesting companies were gradually recalling workers.
The severity of the economic impact of the pandemic justifies extraordinary steps, even though some analysts may find them "alarming", Robert Johnson, professor of finance at Creighton University's Heider College of Business, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement. "We want those people to know we are making IT improvements every day, bringing on more people every day, to get to every claim still waiting for a determination".
New Jersey workers who are eligible for unemployment may receive 60 percent of their wages, up to $713.
Still, just one in nine jobs that were lost in March and April have returned and economists estimate 32.5 million people remain out of work, AP said.
"Fiscal policy will have to step up once again", said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics in Holland, Pennsylvania.