Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

New jobless claims decline to 793,000, but stay higher than expected

The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has declined, but once again remained high and come in worse than expected.

The Labor Department said Thursday 793,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, down 19,000 claims from the revised level of the previous week. Last week's number of claims was originally reported to be 779,000, but this was revised up to 812,000.

Though new jobless claims declined this week, CNBC reports they came in above the 760,000 that economists were expecting. Even that number would still be higher than the pre-pandemic record for weekly jobless claims, which is 695,000.

The latest number of jobless claims comes after the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 49,000 jobs in January, which Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said showed an improvement that was "sluggish as the pandemic continues to restrain the economic recovery." The U.S. unemployment rate in that report declined to 6.3 percent, though Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said this week the unemployment rate was closer to 10 percent in January "counting those who have left the labor force since last February as unemployed" and correcting a misclassification of "many" of unemployed people as employed.

"Despite the surprising speed of recovery early on, we are still very far from a strong labor market whose benefits are broadly shared," Powell also said.