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US weekly jobless claims rise to 742,000 amid surging COVID-19 cases

The number of initial jobless claims in the United States rose to 742,000 last week, as the labor market recovery slows amid surging COVID-19 cases, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

In the week ending Nov. 14, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 31,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 711,000, according to a report released by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Besides, about 12 million Americans are projected to lose their unemployment benefits after Dec. 26, CBS News on Thursday cited a study as saying.

The report said that according to a study released Wednesday by The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, two key government programs authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act expire on Dec. 26.

One program is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides jobless aid to freelance and gig workers. That would deprive 7.3 million workers of urgently needed income, said the report.

Another 4.6 million workers face being dropped from Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits, another CARES Act program that provides an additional 13 weeks of jobless aid beyond the typical 26 weeks that states provide, the analysis found.

According to the data released by Johns Hopkins University, a total of 11,647,930 COVID-19 cases were reported in the US, with a death toll of 251,756 as of 15:25 Eastern Standard Time on Thursday.

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