The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1.9 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment during the week ending May 30, bringing an 11-week total to about 42 million.
Thursday's report marked the ninth straight week of declining unemployment numbers, as every state has begun the process of lifting coronavirus-related lockdowns. However, unemployment claims remain historically high.
Prior to the pandemic, the record high for weekly unemployment claims came in 2006, when 665,000 people filed for unemployment. The Department of Labor has been tracking the statistics since 1967.
Economist often use weekly unemployment claims as a reliable tool when predicting unemployment. However, some surveys indicate that weekly intial claims may be underestimating that amount of those unemployed.
At least one survey from the Economic Policy Institute found that millions of Americans gave up trying to seek benefits or didn't even attempt to due to states' overwhelmed and antiquated unemployment systems.
Despite the staggering unemployment figures, the stock market has been on a steady rise since reaching a four-year low in March. Markets have been buoyed by stimulus from the Federal Reserve and Congress and encouraging reports from health experts regarding the potential development of a vaccine.