779,000 Americans Filed for Unemployment Benefits Last Week

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
February 4, 2021Business News
779,000 Americans Filed for Unemployment Benefits Last Week
Hundreds of people line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Ky., on June 18, 2020. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits eased slightly last week as multiple states nationwide started to loosen CCP virus pandemic-related restrictions on businesses.

The Labor Department’s data (pdf) on Thursday showed about 779,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless claims in the week ending Jan. 30, a decrease of about 33,000 compared to 812,000 claims in the week prior.

Economists polled by Reuters predicted the jobless claims number would come in at 830,000.

Continued claims, which represents U.S. workers filing for ongoing unemployment benefits for at least two consecutive weeks, decreased by about 193,000 from the previous week, standing at a total of 4,592,000 Americans receiving unemployment benefits.

In addition to regular jobless claims, 348,912 workers in 48 different states nationwide filed for “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,” the department stated, which is provided to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits as a direct result of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, like self-employed and independent contractors, among others.

The figures have remained very high for several months and January wasn’t a great month for job recovery because the pandemic triggered an increase in jobless claims.

The numbers have, however, improved since a record of nearly 6.9 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in March last year when the pandemic first hit U.S. shores.

NTD Photo
Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate. (Courtesy of U.S. Labor Department)

“Some 44 weeks into the pandemic caused downturn, unemployment claims remain very much elevated in the latest week,” Bankrate.com senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times in mid-January.

Part of the elevation in claims reflects people reapplying for benefits after the government in late December renewed a $300 unemployment supplement until March 14 as part of a package worth nearly $900 billion in additional pandemic relief.

According to a Reuters poll of economists payrolls likely increased by 50,000 jobs in January after declining by 140,000 in December.

Hopes that the economy created jobs last month were boosted by reports on Wednesday showing rebounds in private payrolls and services industry employment in January. A survey this week also showed manufacturers hired more workers in January.

But some economists are bracing for a second straight month of job losses. The Conference Board’s survey last week showed consumers’ perceptions of labor market conditions deteriorated further in January.

Reuters contributed to this report.