Unemployment Claims See Unexpected Rise

December 17, 2020

The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits climbed to 885,000 last week, the highest since September. The previous week’s claims were revised upward by 9,000 for a total of 862,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected the number of claims to fall to 808,000.

The increase in claims highlights the fragility of the labor market as coronavirus cases continue to climb across the nation, and economists worry that additional restrictions and shutdowns could lead to further deterioration. 

The increase also adds additional pressure to the ongoing negotiations in Congress over the next relief bill. According to a recent Labor Department report, as of November 28, 20.6 million Americans were receiving some kind of unemployment aid.

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