Another 861,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to seasonally adjusted data released Thursday from the Labor Department.
It was nearly 100,000 claims more than economists had predicted, as well as an increase from the week before — which was also revised higher.
America's jobs recovery has really lost steam and last week's initial claims were four times higher than in the same period last year.
The anniversary of the benefit claims spike is only a month away. Last year, initial claims jumped to 3.3 million in the week ended March 21 before peaking at 6.9 million in the following week.
Nearly a year later, the weekly numbers are much lower again, but haven't meaningfully improved in months. Weekly claims dropped below a million in August, but their most recent adjusted low was 711,000 — several times higher than the pre-pandemic average.
On top of regular state claims, 516,299 Americans filed for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides aid for people like the self-employed or gig workers.
Added up, first-time claims actually stood at 1.4 million last week, not adjusted for seasonal swings.
Continued jobless claims, which count filings for at least two consecutive weeks, stood at 4.5 million.