The Labor Department reported Thursday that some 1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that employers have continued to lay off workers during the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.  New claims for weekly jobless benefits have leveled off at about 1 million in recent weeks, but they are still much higher than the estimated 200,000 applications filed before the pandemic began crippling the U.S. economy earlier this year.More than 1.1 million initial unemployment claims were filed during the week ending August 15.The U.S added 1.8 million jobs in July, fewer than the job gains in May and June, an indication that hiring had slowed as a second wave of coronavirus infections in the U.S. surged in June and more than doubled by mid-July, forcing employers to close their businesses again.The Labor Department reported last month that although the jobless rate fell from 11.1% to 10.2% in July, it is still higher than it was at its peak during the 2008-2009 Great Recession.Even after the job gains over the past three months, the Labor Department said the U.S. economy has recouped only an estimated 42% of the 22 million jobs that were lost to the recession sparked by the coronavirus crisis.The job gains in July were far fewer than the 4.8 million added in June and the 2.7 million in May, slowing an economic recovery.The recession, also fueled by cuts in consumer spending and corporate investment, caused the U.S. economy to contract at a nearly 33% annual rate in the second quarter, the sharpest quarterly decline on record.While many economists predict the U.S. economy will show solid growth in the third quarter, they do not expect it to expand enough to offset its sharp contraction in the second quarter.