The number of people applying for unemployment aid jumped last week to 853,000, the most since September, evidence that companies are cutting more jobs as new virus cases spiral higher.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of applications increased from 716,000 the previous week. Before the coronavirus paralyzed the economy in March, weekly jobless claims typically numbered only about 225,000.
The latest figures coincide with a surging viral outbreak that appears to be weakening the job market and the economy and threatening to derail any recovery. Consumers thus far haven’t spent as much this holiday shopping season as they have in previous years, according to credit and debit card data. And in November, employers added jobs at the slowest pace since April. Restaurants, bars and retailers all cut jobs last month.
This was the highest weekly total since Sept. 19 and reflects the job market’s struggles lately as coronavirus cases have spiked and local and state governments have imposed restrictions on some activities.
Continuing claims increased by 230,000 to 5.76 million, the first time that number has gone up since late August.