860,000 file unemployment claims last week as national hiring slows and layoffs continue.

Unemployment claims filings remain high in the latest weekly report from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

In the week ending September 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 860,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 9,000 from 884,000 to 893,000. The 4-week moving average was 912,000, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 2,250 from 970,750 to 973,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 8.6 percent for the week ending September 5, a decrease of 0.7 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the data suggest the recovery is slowing

The labor market’s recovery is showing fresh signs of losing momentum as persistently elevated applications for unemployment benefits show layoffs remain historically high despite summer hiring….

The labor market has partially recovered from the severe downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns of businesses. Employers through August have replaced about 11 million jobs of the 22 million shed in March and April at the beginning of the pandemic. But the pace of hiring slowed later in the summer, and layoffs have remained persistent.

Market Watch, however, reports the numbers are better than many anticipated.

Initial jobless claims filed traditionally through state employment offices fell to 860,000 in the week of Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast new claims to fall to 870,000.

These numbers don’t include the special federal programs.

New claims also fell for the first time since mid-August if self-employed workers who applied for benefits under a separate federal program are included. Some 658,737 people filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act.

That put the number of actual or unadjusted new claims at 1.45 million, compared to 1.73 million in the prior week. Federal filings declined for the first time in five weeks.

Continuing jobless claims, or the number of people already receiving benefits, fell by 916,000 to a seasonally adjusted 12.63 million in the seven days ended Sept. 5. That’s the lowest level since April 4, just as the virus shut down most of the U.S. economy.

Those figures only include people who applied through state programs. The number of people gettting benefits is more than double when including those on federal assistance.

Progress, but a lot of ground yet to reclaim.