Weak demand is forcing U.S. employers to lay off workers, keeping new applications for unemployment benefits extraordinarily high, even as businesses have reopened, buttressing views the labor market could take years to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A resurgence in confirmed coronavirus cases across the country, linked to the reopening of businesses, is also dimming the outlook. Roughly 29 million people were collecting unemployment checks at the end of May. The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report on Thursday, the most timely data on the economy’s health, is unlikely to show a big improvement, more than a month after many businesses resumed operation after closing in mid-March in an effort slow the spread of the respiratory illness. Companies are hiring, but others are cutting jobs at nearly the same pace. The economy slipped into recession in February. “There were some businesses that tried to maintain their […]