New unemployment claims rose to 745,000 last week as the pandemic continued to weigh on the U.S. job market, even as some coronavirus restrictions were relaxed.
The number of jobless claims filed for regular state programs rose 9,000 in the week ending Feb. 27, from 736,000 the week before, the US Department of Labor said Thursday. Economists expected the claims to reach 750,000.
The small increase came after last week’s jobless claims fell to their lowest level in three months. Economists expected the previous week’s report to overstate the drop, however, as Texas, the second most populous US state, and much of the central US were hit by a severe winter storm. which affected the new deposits.
The report also showed an increase from 9,246 in applications for federal unemployment assistance in the event of a pandemic – which includes on-demand workers and the self-employed – to 436,696 on an unadjusted basis.
The uneven nature of the labor market recovery has given impetus to President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 billion fiscal stimulus package. Biden and Democratic leaders reached a compromise that eligibility limit for $ 1,400 in stimulus checks before a Senate vote on the bill.
Economists hope that the US economic recovery will accelerate as vaccines are distributed more widely. The Biden administration has sped up its vaccination schedule and now expects there will be enough doses to inoculate every adult in the country by at the end of May – two months earlier than previously announced – because he hopes to change course in the fight against the pandemic, which has killed more than 508,000 Americans.
The deployment of the vaccine and the recent decline in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to support the gradual reopening of the US economy. Texas and Mississippi This week opened the doors for businesses, ending all capacity restrictions for businesses to bolster their economies.
This has alarmed some public health officials, however, who fear the decline in new infections may start to slow. Biden called the reopens a “big mistake.”
The new claims figures precede Friday’s non-farm payroll report, which is expected to show the US economy added 182,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent in February.
More than 18 million Americans continue to seek unemployment benefits almost a year after the pandemic led to widespread lockdowns and a sharp economic contraction.