11:54 GMT25 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Some 778,000 Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, up about 4 percent from the previous week and higher for a second straight week, Labour Department data showed on Thursday, as the US job market continued to struggle nine months into the coronavirus pandemic.

    "In the week ending 21 November, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 778,000", the department said in a news release.

    It revised upward claims in the previous week to 14 November to 748,000 from 742,000. That raised the latest week’s claims by 30,000, or about 4 percent.

    Claims also rose in the previous week to 14 November, rising by 32,000 and breaking four weeks of declines prior to that.

    Continuous claims for the latest week in review, however, showed fewer filings from the previous week. Some 6.07 million Americans were on continuous claims for the week ended 21 November, versus 6.37 million during the week to November 14. The unemployment rate for last week, meanwhile, stood at 4.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from the previous week.

    The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April, at the height of lockdowns forced by the COVID-19. A rebound of 2.5 million jobs was logged in May and 4.8 million in June, before the recovery began slowing. For all of September, there were just 661,000 jobs added.

    The US economy grew by a record 33.1 percent in the third quarter, after shrinking by 31.4 percent in the previous three months and 5 percent in the first quarter. In 2019, the economy grew by 4.1 percent.

    Despite the rebound, the economic outlook for the United States remains dire with a rash of new coronavirus infections reported across a nation with 12.6 million COVID-19 cases since January and almost 260,000 fatalities. Hospitalization has also hit daily record highs of above 100,000 in recent weeks, even as vaccine development efforts have been showing promise.

    COVID-19, unemployment, US
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