Jobless Claims Balloon to Highest Point Since September

Caucasian female with protective face mask and eyes closed in front of black background is holding her head with her hands.
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The number of unemployment claims rose again last week, representing the highest number of claims since September — even higher than the week before, when the number of claims was compared to the “great recession.

The number of first-time unemployment benefits filers totaled 885,000 in the week ending December 12, an increase of 23,000 from the previous report and the highest number since the week of September 5, according to a Labor Department report. Pre-pandemic, weekly jobless claims had typically numbered only about 225,000.

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Find: Stimulus Negotiations Signal Unemployment Changes

This figure was above the 800,000 claims economists had predicted, underscoring the continuing issues in the job market, as COVID cases are on the rise and Congress tries to negotiate a $900 billion Covid relief stimulus package.  Yesterday, there were more than 247,000 new infections and more than 3,600 COVID deaths reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“U.S. weekly jobless claims continue to head in the wrong direction,″ Edward Moya, an analyst at the currency trading firm OANDA, wrote in a research note, according to the AP. “The labor market outlook is bleak as the winter wave of the virus is going to lead to more shutdowns.″

In a statement yesterday, the Federal Reserve said that the pandemic “is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. Economic activity and employment have continued to recover but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year.”

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See: 28 States That Reopened (and 7 More That Closed Again)Find: COVID-19 Totally Changed How We Spend Our Money

“The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus. The ongoing public health crisis will continue to weigh on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term,” according to the statement. Find out what inflation will look like for the country – and your wallet – in 2021.

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