At a time when the economy is gradually reopening and companies are bringing some workers back

AP –

Washington.- About 1.5 million people applied for benefits for unemployment last week in United States, as the economy gradually reopens and companies bring some workers back, it was released Thursday.

The most recent figure of the work Department It marks the 11th consecutive weekly decline in claims since it peaked at nearly 7 million in March when the coronavirus shut down most of the economy and caused dozens of layoffs. The decline, however, was much less than in recent weeks – just 58,000.

The total number of people receiving help for unemployment It also fell slightly, reflecting the return of many to their previous jobs.

The labor market has started to recover slowly. In May, companies added 2.5 million jobs, an increase that indicated the market had bottomed out. The unemployment it fell from 14.7% to 13.3%, still high.

Even with May hires, nearly 21 million people are classified as unemployed. And if you include the people the government said had been misclassified as employees in May and those who lost jobs but did not look for new jobs, 32.5 million people are unemployed, economists estimate.

Thursday’s report also showed that another 760,000 people applied for benefits for unemployment under a new government program for self-employed and contract workers that makes them eligible for aid for the first time. Those figures are not seasonally adjusted, so the government does not include them in its official account.

The decline in aid calls follows other encouraging reports that the lifting of restrictions has sparked pent-up demand from consumers, whose spending is a crucial driver of the economy. Most economic indicators remain well below pre-epidemic levels, however, and some analysts question whether recent gains can be sustained, especially if infections rise again.

Last month, retail and restaurant sales rose nearly 18%, the government said Tuesday, after record crashes the previous two months. Still, minority veins remain 6% below year-ago levels.