Another 779,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis in the last week of January, the Labor Department said Thursday, stressing once again that the jobs recovery isn’t in great shape.
Still, it was a sizable decrease in claims from the prior week. Last week’s claims figure was 812,000, still several times the number during the same period last year, before the pandemic brought the nation to a standstill.
On top of regular jobless benefits, 348,912 workers filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is available for people such as the self-employed or gig workers.
Added together, 1.2 million workers filed first-time claims for benefits without adjusting for seasonal swings.
Continued claims, which count people who have filed for at least two consecutive weeks of aid, stood at 4.6 million.
January wasn’t a great month for the jobs recovery, and Friday’s jobs report for the month isn’t expected to bring much better news.
While economists predict 50,000 jobs were added last month, a reversal from the staggering loss in December, the unemployment rate is expected to stay flat at 6.7%. It hasn’t budged since November.