Millions of Americans are relying on unemployment benefits for their livelihoods after losing their jobs to the coronavirus crisis. Another 3 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Department of Labor That brings the total number of first-time claimants to 36.5 million since mid-March It was the eighth week in a row that the number for initial claims decreased after peaking at 6.9 million in the final week of March. Economists say this is relatively good news because it means things aren't getting worse. Initial jobless claims are one of the most "real-time" measures of the economy available. Most economic data lags behind by weeks if not months. That's why the weekly claims data are so important during this crisis. But now that initial claims have been falling for two months straight, economists are beginning to shift their focus to continuing jobless claims, which count people who are filing multiple weeks in a row. That number stood at 22.8, up slightly from the prior week.