The number of new applications for unemployment benefits likely remained above pre-pandemic highs last week, as persistent layoffs hold back the economic recovery.

Economists expect unemployment claims logged in at 830,000 last week, continuing to exceed the pre-pandemic high point of 695,000. After steadily declining from a peak of near seven million in March, claims have come in between 800,000 and 900,000 for more than a month as companies readjust their head counts.

“Given that we’re seven months into the pandemic now, these are still incredibly high numbers for initial claims,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at job site Indeed. Labor market indicators suggest the recovery is slowing down, she said.

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