Weekly jobless claims rise more than expected after break from holiday

The pace of weekly jobless claims jumped last week after filings caught up with a decline due in part to the Thanksgiving holiday.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 853,000, an increase from the upwardly revised 716,000 total a week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 730,000.

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.

Markets reacted little to the news, with Wall Street indicating a slightly lower open for stocks.

The rise in virus cases has put substantial pressure on the labor market, with nonfarm payrolls increasing just 245,000 in November after rising 610,000 in October.

Those difficulties were reflected further in unadjusted jobless claims, which totaled 947,504, a 31.9% increase from the previous week. Seasonal factors were pointing to a 12.9% increase.

This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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