The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1.5 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment during the week ending June 20, bringing a 14-week total to about 46.5 million claims.
Thursday's figures were down about 20,000 from last week's unemployment filings. It marked the third straight week where unemployment claims have hovered at about 1.5 million.
Weekly claims for unemployment have been falling for about three straight months after peaking at about 6 million a week in late March. But weekly 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.
Economists often use weekly unemployment claims as a reliable tool when predicting unemployment. However, some surveys indicate that initial weekly claims may be underestimating the 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.
The economy has improved slightly since the virus first arrived in the U.S. earlier this year. Every state had begun the process of restarting its economy as of earlier this month.
However, new cases of COVID-19 are currently on the rise in many states, with reports of new infections nearing record levels — re-igniting fears that more lockdown restrictions could be on the way.