Weekly jobless claims rose less than expected, but held above 800,000

Jobless claims rose less than expected last week as employers weighed a winter spike in Covid-19 cases against an expected relief from a pending stimulus package of $ 900 billion, according to a Labor Department report published on Wednesday.

The number of jobless claimants for the first time slowed to 803,000 in the week ending December 19. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial claims to rise to 888,000.

Last week’s initial claims were revised up by 7,000 to 892,000, the highest number since early September.

Continuing unemployment claims, a proxy for the number of people receiving benefits through regular state programs, fell to a seasonally adjusted 5.3 million in the week ending December 12 from 5.5 million the week before, according to the Labor Department.

The report said that 20.4 million Americans were receiving some form of unemployment benefits as of Dec.5.

Volunteers load turkeys and other food aid for discharged Walt Disney World team members and others at a food distribution party on December 12, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | Norphoto | Getty Images

The latest report on jobless claims came amid an exciting confrontation between President Donald Trump and senior US lawmakers.

Earlier this week, both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed majorities barring the veto A long-awaited $ 900 billion relief package. The bill includes $ 600 in incentive checks for most individuals and their dependents, federal unemployment benefits of $ 300 per week and about $ 320 billion in business relief.

Democrats say the package is a step in the right direction, but they will call for more help after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.

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“While we do hear opponents criticizing construction and configuration, the net result is that they are spending $ 900 billion in household spending over the next few months, and that will fully support the economy,” said Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM. Fixed Income, on Tuesday wrote about the latest legislation.

But in an amazing tweet Tuesday evening, Trump questioned whether he would sign the bill, The result of months of negotiations by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin.

Trump called Covid relief bill of $ 900 billion Congress passed an inappropriate “stigma” and urged congressional leaders to make major adjustments to the measure, including larger direct payments to individuals and families.

The United States registers At least 215,400 new Covid-19 cases And at least 2,600 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data.

Information from The Atlantic COVID Tracking Project A record 117,000 people were hospitalized with the virus.

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