Statistics Canada released the Labour Force Survey for July Friday morning.
Some of these 1.2 million claims can likely be attributed to filing backlogs.
Of those, 1.3 million have been deemed eligible for benefits and 96% of eligible workers have received some payment, the Labor Department said in its weekly claims report.
Adjusted for the misclassification of unemployed Americans as employed - an issue that's plagued the data to varying degrees since March - the jobless rate would have been about 1 percentage point higher, the Labor Department said.
The pace of job growth is slowing.
Oxford Economics senior U.S. economist Lydia Boussour says she expects Friday's report to show a loss of 280,000 jobs, rather than a gain.
A deeper dive into the July jobs report reveals a labour market recovery marked by sharp racial, ethnic and gender disparities - imbalances dating back decades which are now being exacerbated by the pandemic. The number of workers on temporary layoff fell by 1.3 million in July to 9.2 million.
But while millions of people lost jobs, millions of others gained them, with the balance moving in favor of people going back to work.
Another 16,573 New Jersey workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
It can take a while to get rehired or find a new job. Bankrate.com senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said it's the lowest number reported since late March when the economic effects of the pandemic began showing up in unemployment data.
Employers are hedging their bets by adding part-time jobs.
The number of people in the labour force, those either working or looking for work, has been a roller coaster this year.
The unemployment rate fell to 10.2%, continuing to improve from the high of 14.7% seen in April. The unemployment crisis is far from over. There is no reason why Congress and the White House should not immediately restore enhanced jobless benefits - the $600 a week that recently expired - to help millions of Americans buy food and pay the rent, mortgages, and utilities.