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New unemployment claims approach 1 million

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Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – New unemployment claims soared to nearly one million last week, the latest sign that the U.S. economy continues to struggle to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to U.S. Department of Labor data released Thursday, about 965,000 workers filed for first-time benefits the week ending January 9. That's an increase of 181,000 new claims from the prior week, when 784,000 workers filed new claims.

During the same week in 2020, before government restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, 207,000 new claims were filed, less than a quarter of those filing for initial benefits last week.

Continued claims, which include those who have filed for benefits at least two weeks in a row, were at 5.3 million in the week ending Jan. 2. Continued claims data lag new claims by a week.

"The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment ratewas 3.7 percent for the week ending January 2, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from the previous week's unrevised rate," the labor department reported.