Speed Reads

'losing steam'

Jobless claims come in worse than forecast, and with a key 'red flag'

The number of Americans filing new jobless claims last week remained unchanged, despite what experts were anticipating.

The Labor Department on Thursday said that 884,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims last week. Since officials also revised the previous week's number of claims up to 884,000, there was no change in the amount of filings. This number came in worse than expected, as economists thought that the filings would decline to about 850,000, CNBC reports.

Additionally, The Washington Post's Heather Long identified a "red flag" in the report: a jump in claims from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that's primarily for gig workers and those who are self-employed, which "implies many still can't find steady work." There were about 839,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims last week, which according to the Post was the "second straight week that figure marked a significant increase."

Last week, the Labor Department had reported that the number of new jobless claims had fallen below one million, but NBC News notes that this was in part because of a change the department made in its methodology. Thursday's number not showing an improvement was, The Wall Street Journal wrote, "a sign the labor-market recovery is losing steam."