US weekly jobless claims rise more than expected to 853,000 as labour-market recovery slows

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  • New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 853,000, the Labour Department said Thursday. The reading came in above the consensus economist estimate of 725,000 and also marked an increase from the previous week’s revised figure.
  • Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, posted a surprise gain to 5.8 million for the week that ended November 28.
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The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance rose more than anticipated last week as the US labour-market recovery showed signs of slowing.

New US weekly jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 853,000 for the week that ended Saturday, the Labour Department announced Thursday morning. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected 725,000 claims. The reading also marked an increase from the previous week’s revised total of 716,000.

Continuing claims, which track the aggregate total of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, posted a surprise jump to 5.8 million for the week that ended November 28. That came in above economist estimates and is the first weekly increase since August.


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More than 70 million filings for unemployment benefits have been made since claims first skyrocketed in March. Claims are on track to double the 37 million filings made during the 18-month Great Recession in less than half the time. And while weekly readings have trended lower from their spring highs, they haven’t yet dropped below the 665,000 filings seen during the worst week of the Great Recession.

The hiring environment continues to worsen as coronavirus case counts surge through the holiday season. The US reported 211,027 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations rose to 106,688 and deaths surpassed 280,000.

The latest claims reading comes as Congress inches toward an end-of-year stimulus deal. A $US908 billion measure garnered support from Republicans and Democrats alike last week, but parties are now struggling to agree on the inclusion of state and local government aid and pandemic-related liability protections for businesses.

The House passed a last-minute spending bill to avoid a government shutdown for a week and continue stimulus negotiations. If Congress fails to reach an agreement, nearly 12 million Americans stand to lose critical support when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program expires on December 26.


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