Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

New weekly jobless claims fall unexpectedly, but remain high

Weekly jobless claims in the United States fell unexpectedly as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, though they remained above recent lows seen in early November.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that 803,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims — which Reuters notes is the most timely data on the economy's health — last week. That figure was down from the 892,000 new claims filed the previous week, and it was also shy of the 885,000 claims anticipated by economists.

But the good news is mostly relative, and the fact that the numbers remain higher than in previous months suggests the American economy's recovery is muted. It also appears to reflect the increasing amount of coronavirus-related restrictions states are implementing to combat the virus' spread this winter, NBC News notes.

The Commerce Department similarly signaled a crawling recovery Wednesday when it showed U.S. consumer spending dipped to 0.4 percent after climbing 0.3 percent in November. That's the first drop in such activity since the recovery began in May. Read more at Reuters and NBC News.