The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 19,000 last week but remained elevated at 787,000 as a resurgent coronavirus gripped the US economy. While at the lowest level in four weeks, the new figures released Thursday by the Labor Department are nearly four times higher than a year ago, the AP reports. Employers continue to cut jobs as rising coronavirus infections keep many people at home while state and local governments re-impose restrictions. Another 308,262 workers filed claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which covers gig workers and others who don't qualify for normal state aid, reports CNN.
Jobless claims were running around 225,000 a week before the pandemic struck with force, causing weekly jobless claims to surge to a high of 6.9 million in late March as efforts to contain the virus sent the economy into a deep recession. The government said that the total number of people receiving traditional unemployment benefits fell by 103,000 to 5.2 million for the week ending Dec. 19 compared to the previous week.
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