US weekly jobless claims rise to 898,000 as labor-market recovery stumbles

Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
  • New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 898,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The reading came in above the consensus economist estimate of 825,000, and also marks an increase from the previous week's revised figure.
  • Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 10 million for the week that ended October 3. That was lower than economist forecasts.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance rose last week, a discouraging sign for the US labor market's rebound.

New US weekly jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 898,000 for the week that ended on Saturday, the Labor Department announced Thursday morning. That reading came in above the median economist estimate of 825,000 compiled by Bloomberg and reflects an increase from the prior week's revised total.

Continuing claims, which track the aggregate total of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, slid to 10 million for the week that ended on October 3. The reading came in slightly below the median economist estimate of 10.6 million.Advertisement

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There have been roughly 65 million unemployment-insurance filings since early February, trouncing the 37 million seen during the 18-month Great Recession. Thursday's report came in well below the highs earlier in the pandemic but still landed above the 665,000 filings during the Great Recession's worst week.

The millions of Americans still unable to find work are likely to endure tougher economic conditions in the near term. Democrats and Republicans remain far apart in reaching a stimulus compromise, and Wall Street economists increasingly expect new fiscal relief to arrive after the November elections.
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While Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has led in national polls, Senate election outcomes "will mean the difference between substantial fiscal expansion and fiscal gridlock," Morgan Stanley said in a Wednesday note. The lack of another expansion to unemployment benefits also leaves jobless Americans more prone to lingering debt through the pandemic. A recent study by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that Americans receiving unemployment insurance benefits used nearly half of the benefits to pay down debts. Roughly 24% of the payments were used for buying essential goods, and 23% were saved.Advertisement

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