WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing for the first time for unemployment benefits increased last week, confirming a weakening in labor market conditions as a worsening COVID-19 pandemic disrupts restaurant operations. and in other activities.
Initial applications for state unemployment benefits totaled 965,000 seasonally adjusted for the week ending Jan.9, up from 784,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists interviewed by Reuters had forecast 795,000 questions in the past week.
Claims are also likely to have been revoked by new benefit applications following the government’s renewal of a $ 300 unemployment supplement through March 14 as part of nearly $ 900 billion in additional relief approved in late December.
Government-funded programs for self-employed, giant workers, and others who don’t qualify for state unemployment programs, as well as those who have run out of benefits, have also been extended.
Authorities in many states have banned indoor meals to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The economy lost jobs in December for the first time in eight months.
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book Report on Anecdotal Information on Business Activity Collected from nationwide contacts in early January showed Wednesday that “contacts in the leisure and hospitality sectors have reported new job cuts due to tougher containment measures.”
The central bank also noted that the coronavirus resurgence was causing staff shortages in the manufacturing, construction and transportation sectors. The virus infected more than 22.5 million people in the United States and killed over 376,188, the majority of any country.
Although jobless claims fell from a record 6.867 million in March, remain above their peak of 665,000 during the 2007-09 Great Recession. Economists say it could take several years for the labor market to recover from the pandemic.
Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama