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According to a Reuters survey of economists, the US jobless claims count is likely to have fallen below two million last week for the first time in almost three months, the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department will show on Thursday.

Key findings

“The weekly jobless claims report would suggest the worst is over for the labor market.

The stubbornly high number of unemployment claims comes from a second wave of layoffs as businesses navigate weak demand, as well as some lingering backlogs at state unemployment offices overwhelmed by the flood of applications early in the shutdown.

New claims for state unemployment benefits likely totaled a seasonally adjusted 1.8 million for the week ended May 30, down from 2.123 million the prior week.

Economists recommend focusing on benefit recipients for all programs, which totalled 30.1 million in the week ending May 9.

Continuing claims are expected to have declined to 20.05 million in the week ending May 23, according to the Reuters survey.

Economists believe continuing claims peaked at 24.9 million in early May.

The government’s closely watched employment report for May, scheduled for release on Friday, is likely to show nonfarm payrolls falling by 8 million in May after a record 20.537 million plunge in April.

The unemployment rate is forecast rocketing to 19.8%, a post-World War Two record, from 14.7% in April.”

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