Initial Weekly Unemployment Assistance Claims Jump to 965,000 as Coronavirus Cases Climb

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An additional 965,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment assistance for the week ending Jan. 9, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected the total to reach 800,000, similar to the previous week’s revised total of 784,000. A main reason for the increase in claims is further government restrictions due to the spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), there have been 384,794 deaths in the United States since the onset of the pandemic, with more than 4,400 recorded Tuesday alone.

The four-week moving average increased by 18,250 claims to 834,250 for the week. Continuing claims, for which data is a week behind, totaled 5.3 million for the week ending Jan. 2, an increase of 199,000 claims over the previous week.

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