BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The number of laid-off Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a still-elevated 881,000 last week, evidence that the viral pandemic keeps forcing many businesses to slash jobs. New claims for unemployment benefits were up from the previous week in Massachusetts, while applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance dropped.

Massachusetts reported 18,054 new jobless claims, up 460 from the week before. The state saw just over 11,000 applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is a drop of about 1,500 from the previous week. The PUA program is for independent contractors and other “gig economy” workers who may not be covered by traditional unemployment.

The latest figures suggest that nearly six months after the eruption of the coronavirus, the economy is still struggling to sustain a recovery and rebuild a job market that was devastated by the recession. In the previous week, more than 1 million had sought jobless aid. All told, the government said that 13.3 million people are continuing to receive traditional jobless benefits, up from 1.7 million a year ago.

Learn more about applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts here.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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