Continuing claims do not include millions of people who have used up the regular 26 weeks of benefits typically provided by states, and are receiving extended benefits for up to 73 additional weeks, paid for by the federal government.
More than 5.8 million people were receiving extended benefits in the week ended Jan. 16, the latest data available, up from about 5.6 million the previous week. The extended benefit data isn't seasonally adjusted and is volatile from week to week.
Still, the increasing number of people claiming extended unemployment insurance indicates hiring hasn't picked up. That leaves people out of work for longer and longer periods of time.