WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that many employers are still cutting jobs even as the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the pace of layoffs.

The total number of people who are receiving jobless aid rose slightly to 21.5 million, down from a peak of nearly 25 million two weeks ago but still at a historically high level.

It shows that scattered rehiring is offsetting only some of the ongoing layoffs with the economy mired in a recession.

The latest weekly number is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak.

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