Weekly jobless claims rise to 885,000

Weekly jobless claims rose for the second week in a row according to a report released Thursday, reaching a seasonally adjusted 885,000 in the second week of December, according to the Labor Department.

The claims were up 23,000 higher than the previous week’s figures, which themselves were revised upwards by 9,000.

The post-Thanksgiving uptick in claims is a sign that the economic recovery is not only stalling, but may be reversing.

The latest claims data comes as COVID-19 cases continue to break records in the United States.

On an unadjusted basis, the data showed 935,000 claims, a 21,335 drop. Seasonal factors would have predicted double the decline.

Another 455,000 signed onto the special CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which expanded unemployment eligibility to gig economy workers and the self-employed.

Combined, initial weekly regular claims and PUA claims have spiked by nearly 400,000 in the past month.

All in all, the department registered over 20.6 million continuing claims in the last week of November, according to the most recent data. The Labor Department notes that the number of claims may be larger than the total number of people receiving benefits.

The latest claims data comes as COVID-19 cases continue to break records in the United States. On Wednesday, COVID-19 deaths reached a new daily high of 3,656, according to Johns Hopkins University data, as new daily cases reached 276,403 for the first time.

Congressional leaders are negotiating the final details of a plan to extend programs such as PUA beyond their year-end expiration dates and provide an additional weekly top-up to unemployment benefits.

Updated at 8:56 a.m.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Jobs Unemployment

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