US weekly jobless claims hit 751,000, exceeding economist forecasts as labor-market recovery slows

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  • New US jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled 751,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The reading came in above the consensus economist estimate of 735,000, but showed a decline from the previous week’s revised figure.
  • Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 7.3 million for the week that ended October 24. That was slightly above economist estimates.
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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits declined last week, but still came in higher than economist expectations, implying a slowdown in the ongoing labor-market recovery.

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New weekly US jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 751,000 for the week that ended Saturday, the Labor Department announced Thursday morning. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected claims to fall to 735,000. Still, Thursday’s reading marked a decline from the previous week’s revised total of 758,000.

Continuing claims, which track the aggregate total of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, slid to roughly 7.3 million for the week that ended October 24. That reading came in slightly above economist estimates.


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The latest claims reading snaps a streak of better-than-expected reports through October. Filings have recently fallen faster than anticipated, suggesting the US labor market’s recovery could be picking up speed despite a lack of stimulus support. The Labor Department’s previous report saw saw claims fall to 751,000, beating the 770,000 estimate.

Nearly 67 million unemployment insurance filings have been made since the virus slammed the economy in March. That handily exceeds the 37 million filings made during the 18-month Great Recession. Though Thursday’s reading marks a decline from past levels, it still surpasses the 665,000 filings made during the Great Recession’s worst week.

The latest report arrives as coronavirus cases spike to fresh records throughout the US. European countries including England, France, and Germany have all recently announced new lockdowns to stem the spread of COVID-19, leading some to fear a similar move in the US. The country’s first lockdown curbed consumer spending and fueled massive layoffs. A second freeze could drive the double-dip recession some economists have warned about.

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The latest claims reading also follows a worse-than-anticipated report from ADP. The US added 365,000 private payrolls in October, according to data published Wednesday. The reading came in well below the median economist estimate of 643,000 payrolls, and was more than half the September increase.

Economists will get their best diagnosis of the labor market’s October trend on Friday when the government publishes its nonfarm payrolls report. The release is expected to show the unemployment rate falling moderately from 7.9%. 

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