Boarded up... in a week when the US was distracted by demonstrations, weekly jobless claims actually dropped below 2 million for first time since mid-March. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Washington: With business reopenings picked up nationwide, Americans filed nearly 2 million applications for unemployment benefits last week, reflecting a slowing - though far from a halt - in job losses.

Initial jobless claims for regular state programmes totaled 1.88 million in the week ended May 30, down from 2.13 million the prior week. It was the first reading below 2 million since the coronavirus-related layoffs began en masse in mid-March.

Continuing claims - the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits - increased to 21.5 million in state programmes the week ended May 23, compared with analyst estimates for a decline.