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Jobless Claims Continue to Hold Above 800,000 a Week

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Jobless claims have held below 1 million for five straight weeks, but they are still a far cry from where they were before the pandemic struck.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that 837,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits for the week ended Sept. 26, down from a revised 879,000 claims the week earlier. Economists polled by FactSet had been expecting claims of 850,000.

The number marks the fifth consecutive 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.

However, it comes as blue-chip companies join the ranks of smaller businesses in pushing forward with job cuts. Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report on Thursday revealed plans to eliminate about 1% of its workforce, or roughly 400 positions.

Goldman’s move follows a flurry of job-cut announcements this week from the likes of Allstate (ALL) - Get Report, Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report, Dow Inc. (DOW) - Get Report, American Airlines (AAL) - Get Report and United Airlines (UAL) - Get Report that indicate the pandemic’s impact is now entering an extended phase where companies are cutting their ranks.

Jobless claims have fallen significantly from a peak of near 7 million in late March but have stagnated at just more than 800,000 in recent weeks - roughly four times the levels recorded by the Labor Department before the virus rolled across the U.S., bringing the economy to a standstill.

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