November 19, 2020

The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has come in worse than expected, rising for the first time in several weeks.

The Labor Department on Thursday said 742,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims last week, up 31,000 claims from the revised level for the previous week. This was the first time since the week of Oct. 10 that the number of new jobless claims increased, CNN reports.

The number was also more than experts forecasted, as economists were anticipating about 710,000 new claims for last week, CNBC reports. There were also 320,237 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims, an increase from the week prior, according to CNN.

This increase comes as COVID-19 cases rise around the country, prompting states to implement new restrictions. It also comes after a new analysis showed that roughly 12 million workers are set to lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, CBS News reports.

"The combination of record coronavirus cases and the post-holiday winter months will likely be a grim time for the labor market," Indeed Hiring Lab economist AnnElizabeth Konkel said, per NBC News. "To lose unemployment benefits right after the holidays will only ratchet up the economic pain already felt by millions." Brendan Morrow

Opinion
12:04 p.m.

Millions of viewers on Wednesday were astonished at the size of the aging leather-bound Bible used when President Joe Biden took the oath of office, a volume substantially larger than the common pocket-sized editions of Holy Writ.

But in Biden's childhood the book would have been a somewhat more familiar sight. Biden was sworn in with a late 19th-century edition of the Douay Rheims translation of the Bible with extensive commentary by Fr. George Leo Haydock, the scion of an old recusant family who spent much of his life serving in Catholic missions in rural England.

Haydock's commentary, which is still considered among the most authoritative in the English speaking world, is among the reasons that Biden's Bible (which appears to have been in his family since 1893) is so large. Most Haydock editions, including one nearly identical to Biden's owned by this columnist, also include introductory essays, extensive illustrations, glossaries, biographies of the popes, pages for recording the dates of births, deaths, baptisms, marriages, and priestly ordinations.

Haydock editions of the Douay would remain the most common among English-speaking Catholics in both the United States and the British Empire until the 1940s, when the so-called Confraternity edition was published, removing much of the archaic syntax and Latinate vocabulary to which readers had been accustomed. Matthew Walther

11:58 a.m.

President Biden was sworn in as the United States' 46th commander-in-chief Wednesday, succeeding former President Donald Trump.

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Biden with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at his side holding the family bible.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of the inaugural committee chairs, then introduced Biden by his new title for the first time, and he launched into his initial speech on the job. Tim O'Donnell

11:57 a.m.

Lady Gaga just brought the house down at President Biden's inauguration.

Gaga, using a gold microphone, sang the national anthem at the start of Biden's inauguration ceremony, the first of numerous performances that were set to take place on Wednesday; minutes later, Jennifer Lopez also won praise for her performance.

Gaga has a history with the new president, having previously worked with him on a campaign against sexual assault and performing at a rally for him during the 2020 election. In a Twitter thread earlier in the day, Gaga called it an "honor" to be performing the national anthem.

"I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change — between POTUS 45 and 46," Gaga wrote. "For me, this has great meaning. My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land." Watch Gaga's performance below. Brendan Morrow

11:52 a.m.

Kamala Harris took the oath of office on Wednesday, making history as the first woman and first woman of color to break the glass ceiling of the executive branch.

Harris also makes history as the nation's first African-American and first South Asian vice president of the United States. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath. Watch the moment below. Jeva Lange

11:36 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived at President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration— while President Trump, at almost the same time, landed in Florida.

Pence was introduced at Biden's inauguration on Wednesday alongside second lady Karen Pence, and they received "hearty, bipartisan applause," CNN's Jeremy Diamond writes. The vice president's arrival was more notable than usual considering Trump refused to attend the ceremony, leaving Washington, D.C., beforehand despite the tradition of presidents being in attendance for their successor's swearing-in.

Trump had departed on Air Force One for Florida earlier after delivering farewell remarks, and the plane landed within minutes of Pence being introduced.

Among those who were previously introduced at the inauguration include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and according to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Clinton went "out of her way to greet" Pence, and "they exchanged a few words." Despite his refusal to attend the inauguration, Trump left a note in the White House for Biden, as is tradition, and The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports Pence also left a note for his successor, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Brendan Morrow

11:24 a.m.

It's a little known fact that the presidential inauguration actually doubles as a fashion show of preppy winter 'fits, and President-elect Joe Biden's was no different. But the winner of the Capitol steps on Wednesday wasn't Michelle Obama, in her plum Sergio Hudson, or Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' step-daughter, Ella Emhoff, in her embellished coat, or Jill Biden, in her custom blue Markarian.

No, it was the grumpy chic outfit of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Sanders, naturally, wears mittens made by a teacher from Essex Junction, Vermont, and knit from "repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles," BuzzFeed News' Ruby Cramer reports. Jeva Lange

11:10 a.m.

President Trump departed Washington, D.C., before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, but three of the other four living presidents and first ladies have gathered on stage to support their latest successor. Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. and Laura Bush, and Barack and Michelle Obama were all introduced ahead of the ceremony.

It's customary for former presidents to attend the inauguration — the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas were all at Trump's ceremony in 2017 — though Biden's event comes amid a pandemic and security concerns following the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Still, they were all on board.

Former President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, decided not to attend, marking the first time he's missed a ceremony since he was sworn in in 1977. Of course, it's quite safe to assume the 96-year-old Carter is not snubbing Biden, but rather staying home for health and safety reasons, as he has through much of the pandemic, per ABC News. Tim O'Donnell

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