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Jobless Report: Another 853,000 Filed for Unemployment Last Week

Unemployment claim form on an office table

The following comes from a report on Yahoo! Finance calculating current jobless numbers. Read the full report here.

Many more Americans filed new unemployment claims last week than during the previous week, as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases heading into the winter led to more business-constraining social distancing restrictions and pushed more people out of work.

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main results in the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

Initial jobless claims, week ended Dec. 5: 853,000 vs. 725,000 expected and a revised 716,000 during the prior week

Continuing claims, week ended Nov. 28: 5.757 million vs. 5.210 million expected and a revised 5.527 million during the prior week

Thursday’s report ended a seven-week streak during which new jobless claims held below 800,000. New weekly claims are now about four times greater than they were before the pandemic, when they were averaging about 200,000 per week. Still, they are down from a pandemic-era high of nearly 6.9 million in late March.

Jobless claims rose more than anticipated after a brief dip during the previous week. Many economists chalked up the end of November’s greater-than-anticipated improvement in new weekly jobless claims to a technical quirk with adjusting for the Thanksgiving holiday, rather than the start of a sustained trend lower in new claims. In the first five days of December alone, new COVID-19 cases totaled 1 million in the U.S., and additional restrictions across numerous states came into play.

“Filings reversed course last week and surged to the highest level since September,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, in an email Thursday. “The prior week’s data were likely distorted by seasonal adjustment issues around the Thanksgiving holiday while the latest data are probably better capturing a deteriorating trend. A health crisis that is likely to worsen after the upcoming holiday is a warning signal for the labor market. Widening virus containment measures are likely to restrict activity more widely and the hit to incomes from related job losses will be compounded by expiring government support measures.”

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