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Jobless claims worse than expected as pandemic-related filings surge

  • CNBC
  • by:
First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 793,000 last week as declining Covid-19 cases provided little relief for the jobs market.

The total for the week ended Feb. 6 was above the 760,000 forecast from economists surveyed by Dow Jones but a slight decrease from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 812,000.

The pandemic era has provided a long struggle for the jobs market to get back to its previous level. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 49,000 in January, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3% primarily due to a decline in the labor force.

Continuing claims for benefits, which run a week behind the weekly number, also declined, falling 145,000 to 4.54 million, the lowest total since March 21, 2020.

However, the total of those receiving benefits across all program jumped to 20.44 million due to a surge in filings for two pandemic compensation programs: for those who wouldn’t otherwise receive benefits and for those whose regular benefits have run out.

Enrollment under the special pandemic programs rose by nearly 2.7 million for the week ended Jan. 23.

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