US workers file 787,000 new jobless claims as COVID-19 pressures job market

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American workers filed 787,000 applications for jobless benefits last week, 19,000 fewer than last week — pushing the total number of filings during the coronavirus pandemic to 73 million. 

The number of people who have filed for unemployment benefits since March is now equivalent to the populations of France and Portugal combined. 

The claims were down from the previous week’s revised total of 806,000. The figure breaks a three-week streak of jobless numbers clocking in above 800,000. 

New filings, however, have remained above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 for 10 straight months despite falling sharply from their late March peak of about 6.8 million.

“The 787,000 new unemployment claim filings were down from the week before, but the 4-week moving average continues to trend higher,” said Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. 

These are the first jobless claims since Americans began receiving their long-awaited COVID-19 stimulus checks. The $600 will be showing up in the bank accounts of people who have direct deposit set up with the IRS over the next week. The Treasury began mailing out physical checks Wednesday for individuals who do not have their accounts linked.

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