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Monday, January 18, 2021

U.S. jobless claims jump to nearly 1 million

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U.S. jobless claims jump to nearly 1 million
U.S. jobless claims jump to nearly 1 million

The number of Americans filing first-time applications for unemployment benefits surged last week, confirming a weakening in labor market conditions as a worsening COVID-19 pandemic disrupts operations at restaurants and other businesses.

Fred Katayama reports.

The jobs market is weakening as the pandemic worsens.

The Labor Department reported Thursday the number of Americans filing new jobless claims surged to 965,000 last week.

That was a lot more than economists had forecast.

The surge in coronavirus cases has disrupted operations at restaurants and bars.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that stricter containment measures led to renewed job cuts in the leisure and hospitality sector.

That sector accounted for the biggest chunk of job losses in the government’s employment report for December.

Another likely factor driving claims higher: many Americans reapplied for benefits after the government renewed a $300 unemployment supplement as part of its $900 billion relief package.

Jobless claims have remained stubbornly high.

Although they’ve dropped from the record of nearly 6.9 million in March, they remain well above their peak of 665,000 hit during the Great Recession.

Economists say it could take several years for the labor market to recover from the fallout of the pandemic.

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