Nationally, 1.2 million filed for unemployment benefits last week, lowest weekly filing since March.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports 1.2 million Americans filed for benefits last week.

In the week ending August 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,186,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 1,434,000 to 1,435,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,337,750, a decrease of 31,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 1,368,500 to 1,368,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.0 percent for the week ending July 25, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 25 was 16,107,000, a decrease of 844,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

As Calculated Risk notes,

This does not include the 655,707 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

The Associated Press writes,

The government’s report Thursday did offer a smidgen of hopeful news: The number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March…

Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, called the drop in weekly claims “a move in the right direction.” But in a research note, she added:

“Repeated shutdowns for virus containment remain a threat to the labor market, which is already weak. The possibility of mounting layoffs that could become permanent is high. Without effective virus containment, the recovery remains at risk from ongoing job losses that could further restrain incomes and spending.”

With respect to the shutdowns, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Politico,

“There seems to be a misperception that either you shut down completely and damage a lot of things, mental health, the economy, all kinds of things, or let it rip and do whatever you want,” Fauci told POLITICO’s “Pulse Check” podcaston Wednesday. “There’s a stepwise fashion that you can open up the economy successfully.

“You don’t have to lock down again, but everybody has got to be on board for doing these five or six fundamental public health measures” like masks and social distancing, Fauci added.

Right. Stay Safe, Stay Open. Wear a Mask.