Chairs and tables are stacked inside of Casa Maria in Watson on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, one day after Gov. John Bel Edwards’ order to close all on-site dining in restaurants statewide due to the novel coronavirus.

(The Center Square) – Nearly 1.5 million American workers filed new unemployment claims last week as the number of new coronavirus cases surged in a number of states as testing also increases.

The 1.48 million claims filed in the week ending June 20 was down about 60,000 from the previous week's adjusted level, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In the 14 weeks since states issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, more than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Millions have since gone back to work as states allowed businesses deemed non-essential early on during the pandemic have been allowed to reopen under certain conditions.

Continuing claims totaled 19.52 million in the week ending June 13 for an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent. That's down 0.5 percent from the week prior, according to the department of labor.

The number of new claims have dropped for 12 consecutive weeks, but they remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

California once again led all states in new claims, with 287,354 last week. Georgia saw 124,283 new claims last week, the second highest in the country.

Livingston Parish continues to come in second for the Baton Rouge metro area, with 7,800 current claimants on unemployment - a stark drop from the nearly 19,000 at one point. However, those 7,800 are part of nearly 57,000 unemployed in the BR metro area.

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) work is still to be done, as federal unemployment benefits end on July 31.

"The result (of those individuals not finding work) could be catastrophic to local landlords, lenders, and retailers," BRAC says.

Livingston Parish also remains last of the largest Baton Rouge area parishes in hourly and part-time workers still without a job. 43.6% of that workforce are still out of the labor force in Livingston Parish, with 22% in Ascension still out of the labor force.

East Baton Rouge grew by 0.7% in the last week.

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