WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of laid-off workers who applied for unemployment benefits fell to 1.48 million last week, the 12th straight drop and a sign that layoffs are slowing but are still at a painfully high level.

The steady decline in claims suggests that the job market has begun to heal from the pandemic, which shuttered businesses and sent the unemployment rate up to 14.7% in April, its highest level since the Great Depression.

Yet the latest figure also coincides with a sudden resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the United States, especially in the South and West, that’s threatening to derail a nascent economic rebound.

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