The pace of first-time filings for jobless claims picked up last week, with the jobs market showing increasing vulnerability to the coronavirus spread.
Claims totaled 778,000 for the week ended Nov. 21, ahead of the 733,000 expectation from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and up from 742,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
Continuing claims for those collecting benefits for at least two weeks maintained their decline, falling to 6.07 million, a drop of 299,000.
The news comes amid an ongoing rise in coronavirus cases and worries that the national health system is becoming stressed. New daily cases have averaged 174,225 over the past week, and health officials worry that Thanksgiving could send that level higher as families across the country travel to celebrate the holiday.
Though weekly claims have been below 800,000 for the past six weeks, they are still well above the pre-pandemic record as governments