The pandemic is far from over as infections are on the rise and millions of Americans remain unemployed.
At least 742,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
That was a up from the week before and the first increase in unemployment claims since the week of Oct.10.
Meanwhile, 320,237 workers filed claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is designed to help those who aren't usually eligible for jobless benefits, such as the self-employed. That number also rose from the prior week.
Added together, first-time claims stood at 1.1 million, not adjusted for seasonal changes.
Continued jobless claims, which count people who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, came in at 6.4 million.
Economists worry that a growing number of people are exhausting their states' regular jobless benefits, which commonly last for 26 weeks. After that, the unemployed get rolled onto other government programs, including the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.