First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits showed a significant increase in the week ended December 5th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The report said initial jobless claims jumped to 853,000, an increase of 137,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 716,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 725,000 from the 712,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the much bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 873,000 in the week ended September 19th.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also climbed to 776,000, an increase of 35,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 740,500.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also surged up by 230,000 to 5.757 million in the week ended November 28th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 5,935,750, a decrease of 260,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 6,196,000.
“The Thanksgiving holiday may still be wreaking some havoc with the data, but the underlying picture is still one of weak labor market conditions as the coronavirus surges,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
A closely watched report released by the Labor Department last Friday showed U.S. job growth slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of November.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 245,000 jobs in November after jumping by a downwardly revised 610,000 jobs in October.
Economists had expected employment to increase by 469,000 jobs compared to the addition of 638,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate dipped to 6.7 percent in November from 6.9 percent in October. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 6.8 percent.
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