For the first time since March, U.S. unemployment claims dropped below the 1 million mark, with 963,000 Americans filing for benefits this week. Another 489,000 people applied for assistance through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which offers relief for independent contractors, self-employed workers and those who don’t qualify for regular state unemployment insurance.
The largest increase in initial claims for the week ending August 1 was in Rhode Island (87), while the largest decreases were in California (22,610), Virginia (19,048), Texas (14,095), Florida (13,176), and New Jersey (11,489).
This week's jobs report comes as the U.S. reported its highest single-day coronavirus death toll so far in August, with at least 1,470 on Wednesday, Aug. 12. In Florida, there were at least 200 deaths on Wednesday, with one new death in Sarasota County and none in Manatee.