NATIONWIDE — New unemployment claims dropped below 1 million last week for only the second time since the coronavirus pandemic caused widespread shutdowns in March.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 881,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits, marking a pandemic-era low.

However, this is the first week that the Department of Labor is utilizing an updated system which counts both new and continuing jobless claims, which was expected to lower the count.

The Department of Labor announced the change last week due to a need to account for seasonal effects.

Even with the decline from the week before, the number is still higher than the pre-pandemic record, and millions of people still remain out of work.

An update on the unemployment rate is due out Friday.