The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 853,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a large increase of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Nov. 28, in which there were 712,000 new jobless claims reported. New jobless claims had stayed below 800,000 for more than a month prior to the report.
Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 730,000, CNBC reported. New jobless claims fell below 1 million in the first week of August, which was the first time the weekly claims had fallen below 1 million since March. (RELATED: Economic Recovery Slows, US Adds Just 245,000 Jobs In November)
Roughly 19 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.
Investors have focused on Capitol Hill negotiations on a potential coronavirus relief bill, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Trump administration offered a new $916 billion stimulus proposal to congressional leaders Tuesday.
“Should it be passed, the vaccine-driven optimism about getting through to the other side would brighten,” Fahad Kamal, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros, told The WSJ.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged at the end of November, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in the index’s history due to positive vaccine developments, according to CNBC. The U.S. economy surged by a record 33.1% in the third quarter. (RELATED: Dow Jones Stock Market Index Hits All-Time High, Surpasses 30,000)
Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have been increasing steadily in the U.S. since mid-October, according to The COVID Tracking Project. On Wednesday, the U.S. reported 3,054 new coronavirus-related deaths and 211,027 new cases while 106,688 Americans remained hospitalized from the virus.
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