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Another 778,000 people file for first-time unemployment last week, the highest level in five weeks

PHOTO CREDITS: NOAM GALAI/GETTY IMAGES

Another 778,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, as the Dow hits an all-time high above 30,000.

That was more than the 735,000 initial jobless claims that economists were expecting, and it’s also higher than last week’s revised number of 748,000. The numbers represent the second straight week that first-time claims rose, and the first time that jobless claims have been up for two consecutive weeks since late July. Furthermore, the 778,000 figure was the highest level in five weeks.

The latest unemployment benefits figures were released by the Labor Department on Wednesday, a day earlier than usual because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The report also showed that continued jobless claims, which include people who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, was 6.1 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was down from the previous week.

4.5 million more people had received Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits from the government as of the week of November 7. There is a two-week lag with PEUC data. Overall, more than 20.4 million Americans were still receiving some form of unemployment benefits as of November 7. That’s an increase of more than 135,000 from a week ago (CNN).

The Dow just hit a new all-time high above 30,000, though many average Americans are still struggling — especially as government stimulus checks have halted and COVID-19 cases are on the rise again. “More stringent social distancing policies are being put in place each day. Stay-at-home measures, school closures, and limitations for businesses to operate are going to lead to more layoffs over the winter. It is going to get worse before it gets better,” said Thomas Simons, money market economist with Jefferies, in a report.

“It is quite clear that the intensification of the pandemic, the pullback by the public and government mandated lockdowns are clearly combining to cause an increase in first time claims,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist with RSM US, in a report Wednesday morning. “Despite the potential arrival of a mass produced and distributed vaccine, this economy demands fiscal aid now,” he added (MSN).

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

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