Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

A potential job candidate takes a flyer from a human resources representative at a Target store in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workers filed an additional 2.4 million unemployment claims last week, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In total, nearly 39 million people have now filed for unemployment over the past nine weeks since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The pace of layoffs has now declined for seven straight weeks, and some reopened businesses have rehired a portion of their laid-off employees.

By historical standards, though, the number of weekly applications remains immense.

The continuing job cuts reflect an economy that is gripped by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the economy is shrinking at a 38% annual rate in the April-June quarter. That would be, by far, the worst quarterly contraction on record.

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