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First-Time Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise to 770,000, Higher Than Expected

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A total of 770,000 Americans filed for unemployment assistance for the week that ended March 13, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. The amount of initial jobless claims was higher than the 700,000 figure that economists surveyed by Dow Jones predicted and is an increase from last week’s revised amount of 725,000. Continuing claims, for which data lags a week, decreased to a little more than 4.1 million.

The unemployment numbers were expected to fall lower due to COVID-19 vaccines and lessening restrictions on retailers and restaurants, as well as President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package that was signed into law last week. States around the country are continuing to open back up and lessen restrictions as well.

According to CNBC, Texas, Florida and Mississippi have either reduced pandemic restrictions or completely gotten rid of them. Other states like Pennsylvania are expected to cut back on its business restrictions as well, and approximately 2.4 million Americans a day are getting the vaccine. CNBC also reports that the Federal Reserve’s governing committee will hold the federal funds rate close to zero until the economy fully recovers.

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