Weekly Jobless Claims Balloon to 965,000

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP/Shutterstock (10706877b)People wait to speak with representatives from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission about unemployment claims, in Midwest City, Okla.
Sue Ogrocki/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jobless claims rose once again this week, with 965,000 claims — the most since August — continuing to reflect the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, the Treasury Department announced today.

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This figure represents an increase of 181,000 from the previous week, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, triggering numerous restrictions and layoffs. Tuesday marked a new pandemic record, with more than 4,200 deaths across the US.

There were 338,550 initial claims in the comparable week in 2020, according to the Treasury. In addition, for the week ending Jan. 9, 45 states reported 284,470 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

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“The economy clearly needs additional support from Washington because right now rising jobless claims tells us the labor market recovery has stalled and the direction is full-tilt down,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York said in a Reuters article.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December. “The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic,” the Labor Department said in a statement. Due to numerous lockdowns and restrictions, the leisure and hospitality sector took the brunt of the economic effects of the pandemic once again, with employment declining by 498,000, with three-quarters of the decrease in food services and drinking places, according to the BLS.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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