Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

New jobless claims climb to 965,000, the most since August

The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has climbed to the highest level in about five months.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 965,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, a big jump of 181,000 claims from the revised level of the week before. This was the highest number of new jobless claims since the week of Aug. 22, and the number came in significantly worse than the 800,000 claims economists were expecting, CNBC reports.

The high total comes as the U.S. continues to experience a rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Last week, the latest U.S. jobs report showed the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, the first monthly loss since April.

"The race between vaccine distribution and mounting labor market damage continues," Indeed Hiring Lab economist AnnElizabeth Konkel told NBC News. "Even once vaccine distribution starts making a real dent in case numbers, it will still be a long road to a full economic recovery. Spring weather conditions will hopefully be a boost, allowing businesses and restaurants to again operate outdoors more easily."