US jobs
Hiring activity is back to being subdued in the US, as more lockdowns and virus cases surge. Image Credit: Agency

Washington: Applications for US unemployment benefits posted the smallest weekly decline since March after coronavirus cases surged and reopenings paused or reversed across the south and west.

Initial jobless claims in regular state programmes totaled 1.3 million in the week ended July 11, down 10,000 from the prior period, Labor Department figures show. Economists surveyed had forecast a larger drop, to 1.25 million initial claims.

Continuing claims - the total number of Americans claiming ongoing unemployment benefits in state programmes - decreased to 17.3 million in the week ended July 4, compared with a median projection for a decline to 17.5 million.