Workers file 965,000 new jobless claims as COVID-19 pressures labor market

Workers file 965,000 new jobless claims as COVID-19 pressures labor market

American
workers
filed
965,000
applications
for
unemployment
benefits
last
week

an
unexpected
surge
as
the
coronavirus
kept
the
labor
market
under
pressure,
the
feds
said
Thursday.

The
latest
batch
of
initial
jobless
claims
brought
the
total
reported
during
the
COVID-19
pandemic
to
nearly
74.8
million

a
number
larger
than
the
populations
of
Canada
and
Saudi
Arabia
combined.

New
filings
spiked
from
the
prior
week’s
revised
total
of
784,000
amid
the
latest
round
of
lockdown
measures
brought
on
by
a
rise
in
coronavirus
cases
and
deaths.
Economists
were

expecting
787,000
claims
for
last
week
,
according
to
Wrightson
ICAP.

“Deterioration
may
still
lie
ahead
as
new
virus
infections
surge
and
restrictions
show
no
sign
of
abating,”
Bloomberg
economist
Eliza
Winger
said.

Jobless
claims
have
hovered
above
the
pre-pandemic
record
of
695,000
for
43
consecutive
weeks,
a
sign
that
the
virus
is
continuing
to
weigh
on
the
job
market
while
killing
thousands
of
Americans
a
day.

The
latest
surge
in
infections
caused
the
US
economy
to

shed
140,000
jobs
in
December
,
the
first
net
loss
since
the
pandemic
battered
employers
in
April.

Jobless claims have hovered above the pre-pandemic record for 43 consecutive weeks.
Jobless
claims
have
hovered
above
the
pre-pandemic
record
for
43
consecutive
weeks.

Spencer
Platt/Getty
Images

Beleaguered
workers
got
some
relief
at
the
start
of
the
new
year
after
Congress
passed
a
$900
billion
relief
bill
that
provided
a
$300
weekly
boost
to
unemployment
benefits
and
extended
federal
jobless
aid
that
was
at
risk
of
running
out.

“With
the
passage
of
the
second
coronavirus
relief
bill,
more
unemployed
workers
are
eligible
for
benefits,
and
weekly
benefits
have
increased,”
Morning
Consult
economist
John
Leer
said.
“Consequently,
the
share
of
workers
who
experienced
a
loss
in
pay
and
who
filed
for
unemployment
insurance
is
likely
to
rise.”

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