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Claims for first-time jobless benefits fall to 787,000, down 19,000

Virus Outbreak California Jobs
Posted at 7:34 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 23:41:04-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 19,000 but remain elevated at 787,000 as a resurgent coronavirus grips the U.S. economy.

While at the lowest level in four weeks, the new figures released Thursday by the Labor Department are nearly four times higher than a year ago before the coronavirus struck.

Employers continue to cut jobs as rising coronavirus infections keep many people at home while state and local governments re-impose restrictions.

Jobless claims were running around 225,000 a week before the pandemic struck with force last March causing weekly jobless claims to surge to a high of 6.9 million in late March as efforts to contain the virus sent the economy into a deep recession.

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