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Jobless Claims Climb as Economic Recovery Remains Elusive

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Jobless claims unexpectedly climbed last week, broaching the 900,000 mark, as the pandemic continues to hammer the U.S. economy, prompting businesses to furlough and lay off workers.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that 898,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits in the week ended Oct. 10, up from a downwardly revised 845,000 claims the week earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting 825,000 claims.

The number marks the seventh straight week of claims below 1 million since the pandemic shut down the U.S. economy in late March. However, analysts noted this continues to reflect a change in the way the Labor Department makes its seasonal adjustments, which applied for the first time to the last jobless claims report for August.

Continuing claims, which are the number of people not just filing for the first time but staying on unemployment benefits, came in at 10.018 million for the week ended Oct. 3, down from a revised 11.183 million the previous week, the Labor Department said.  

While the continuing claims numbers show improvement in the number of people relying on unemployment benefits, they also represent individuals who have exhausted the maximum duration of payments available through regular state programs.

Some 11.172 million individuals claimed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits through Sept. 26, while 2.778 million people claimed Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits, the Labor Department said.

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