Scattershot reopenings of retail stores, nail salons and restaurants around the country have not halted the flood of layoffs, with the government reporting Thursday that nearly three million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the two-month tally to 36.5 million.

The weekly count of new claims has been declining since late March, but that hopeful flicker barely stands out in an otherwise grim and chaotic economic landscape.

“This is a very protracted, painful situation for the labor market,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, “and I just don’t see anything positive.”

A new survey by the Federal Reserve found that in households making less than $40,000 a year, nearly 40 percent of those who were working in February lost their jobs in March

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