/US weekly jobless claims rise to 778,000, above economist forecasts – Business Insider

US weekly jobless claims rise to 778,000, above economist forecasts – Business Insider

  • New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 778,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The reading came in above the consensus economist estimate of 730,000 and showed an increase from the previous week’s revised figure.
  • Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 6.1 million for the week that ended November 14. The reading came in slightly above economist estimates.
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The number of filings for US unemployment insurance rose last week, defying economist estimates that called for a decline. The latest data suggests the ongoing labor-market recovery is faltering.

New weekly jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 778,000 for the week that ended Saturday, the Labor Department announced Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a reading of 730,000. The total also lands above the previous week’s revised total of 748,000 and marks a second straight increase after four consecutive periods of declines.

Continuing claims, which track the aggregate total of Americans on unemployment insurance, decreased to 6.1 million for the week that ended November 14. But that still came in slightly above above the consensus estimate.

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Business Insider / Andy Kiersz

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Nearly 69 million filings for unemployment benefits have been made since the pandemic slammed the US economy in March. That exceeds the 37 million filings made during the 18-month Great Recession. While weekly filings have fallen from their spring highs, readings still surpass the 665,000 filings made during the worst week of the previous economic downturn.

The waning pace of improvement comes as the nation faces off against surging COVID-19 case counts. The US reported 166,672 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the 7-day average to 169,381, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Daily deaths surpassed 2,000 and coronavirus-related hospitalizations exceeded 88,000.

State and local governments have tried to slow infection rates by implementing new lockdown measures such as school closures and curfews. While such actions may show improvement in the coming weeks, economists fear the restrictions will diminish an already weakening recovery.

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JPMorgan lowered its economic growth estimate for the first quarter of 2021 on Friday, noting the coronavirus’s resurgence will make for a “grim” winter. The bank’s economists now expect the US economy to shrink 1% in the first three months of the new year. While economic reopening in the summer boosted spending, “the economy no longer has that tailwind,” JPMorgan said.

Goldman Sachs similarly lowered its own first-quarter GDP estimate on Saturday, citing rising case counts and new economic restrictions for the downward revision. The firm still expects 1% growth.

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