The pace of the first application for unemployment claims accelerated last week, with the labor market showing increasing vulnerability to the spread of the coronavirus.
In the week ended Nov. 21, claims stood at 778,000, ahead of the 733,000 expectations of economists interviewed by Dow Jones, and rose to 742,000 the previous week, the Department of Labor reported Wednesday.
Benefit claimants for at least two weeks continued to decline, to 6.07 million, down from 299,000.
The news comes amid a steady increase in coronavirus cases and worries that the national health system is becoming increasingly stressful. New daily cases averaged 174,225 last week, and health officials fear that Thanksgiving could raise that level when families across the country travel to celebrate the holiday.
Although weekly claims have been below 800,000 in the past six weeks, they are still well above pre-pandemic records as governments impose restrictions on activity. The hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit by capacity constraints and the likelihood that many will have to return only to exports or close completely with the onset of winter and an increase in cases.
Many displaced workers have seen their benefits expire.
Access to the epidemic unemployment benefit program, which provides benefits to those who are not normally eligible, has fallen by 8,019 to 311,675 last week. However, participants in the PUA emergency program, who help those who lost their benefits with an additional 13 weeks of compensation, rose from 466,106 to 9.15 million, although those figures fell two weeks behind.
Total benefits rose to 20.45 million in the week ended November 7, up 135,297 from the previous week. This compares with just 1.5 million a year ago, underscoring how much damage remains in the labor market.
The number of unemployment claims for the job was issued a day earlier for the holiday.
The daily figures reflect two rapid booms where the labor market continues to struggle but other parts of the economy are performing well.
Orders for durable goods rose more than expected, by 1.3%, well above the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate, while the Department of Commerce confirmed that gross domestic product rose 33.1% year-on-year. in the third quarter. The value of GDP is the second of the three and was the same as the original estimate.
“This is one of the strangest healing recessions in history,” wrote Chris Rupkey, financial finance economist at MUFG Union Bank. “Companies are clearly out of cash and are planning a stronger economy next year as they continue to order new, long-lived investment vehicles to meet demand for goods and services. Companies don’t see uncertainty and don’t even know it was a recession. “
Illinois had the largest weekly jump in receivables, rising 18,225 or 39%, according to unadjusted data. Michigan (15,843) and Washington State (13,179) also showed remarkable growth. Louisiana fell 34,298, or 79%, while Massachusetts fell 23,172.