Jobless Numbers: 965,000 new claims as COVID-19 pressures labor market

A woman looks at signs at a store closed due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The federal jobless claims numbers are out and it shows 965,000 new applications were filed for unemployment benefits last week — an unexpected surge as the coronavirus kept the labor market under pressure.

The new numbers of initial jobless claims brought the total reported during the COVID-19 pandemic to nearly 74.8 million.

The new filings spiked from the prior week’s revised total of 784,000 amid the latest round of lockdown measures brought on by a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths.

Jobless claims have remained above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 for 43 consecutive weeks, a sign that the virus is continuing to weigh on the job market while killing thousands of Americans a day.

Displaced workers got some relief at the start of the new year after Congress passed a $900 billion relief bill that provided a $300 weekly boost to unemployment benefits and extended federal jobless aid that was at risk of running out.