The Labor Department announced on Thursday that about 885,000 Americans filed unemployment claims last week, the highest weekly total since September.
Last week’s claims rose from the 862,000 recorded during the previous week, and come amid rising coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the U.S. Average weekly jobless claims from before the pandemic totaled roughly 225,000.
“The next few months will be pretty rough for the labor market as you do see businesses having to contend with this latest wave of Covid cases,” Wells Fargo Securities senior economist Sarah House told the Wall Street Journal. “You are seeing those government restrictions coming into play again.”
There are currently 20.6 million Americans receiving some kind of unemployment benefits.
Data firm Womply reported that 23 percent of American local businesses were closed as of December 1, including 41 percent of local bars and 28 percent of restaurants. Retail sales fell 1.1 percent in November, in a skittish start to the holiday shopping season.