Jobless claims continue to rise

(NBC News) – President Trump traveled to Michigan Thursday, touring a Ford plant that has shifted gears to produce ventilators, a symbol of the battered American economy in transition.

The visit to Ford comes as new unemployment figures show another unnerving dip.

2.4 million Americans filed new jobless claims last week, bringing the nine-week total to more than 38 million.

The weekly toll is leveling off, but represent vast numbers of people who may not get their jobs back.

Still, Trump administration officials are optimistic.

“We’re reopening, and I think we’re now seeing a lot of people going back to work. My hope is that, in the next few weeks, we will see actually millions of people go back to work,” says Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.

As the country emerges from lockdown, a new study from Columbia University found that if social distancing orders had started just a week earlier, roughly 36,000 fewer Americans may have died.

President Trump called that research “a political hit job.”

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