WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose again last week to 885,000, the highest weekly total since September, as a resurgence of coronavirus cases threatens the economy’s recovery from its springtime collapse.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of applications increased from 862,000 the previous week.
It showed that nine months after the virus paralyzed the economy, many employers are still slashing jobs as the pandemic forces more business restrictions and leads many consumers to stay home.
The number of claims was much higher than the 800,000 that economists had expected.
Before the coronavirus erupted in March, weekly jobless claims had typically numbered only about 225,000. The far-higher current pace reflects an employment market under stress and diminished job security for many.
The total number of people who are receiving traditional state unemployment benefits fell to 5.5 million from 5.8 million.
That figure is down sharply from its peak of nearly 23 million in May.
It means that some jobless Americans are finding jobs and no longer receiving aid. But it also indicates that many of the unemployed have used up their state benefits, which typically expire after six months.