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900,000 Americans Filed For First-Time Unemployment Last Week

Roughly 900,000 Americans filed for unemployment in Donald Trump's last full week as president. People walk down a nearly empty sidewalk in Manhattan on October 15, 2020, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The jobs crisis roared last week, with 900,000 Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis.

It was a down from the prior week’s upswing, when claims rose to 926,000. It’s a good sign that benefit applications fell again, but “good” is relative here. Millions of Americans still need government help to make ends meet, and there haven’t been any real improvements for months.

Although While Wednesday’s inauguration of President Joe Biden spurred hopes for more government stimulus, help can’t come fast enough for the unemployed.

On top of regular claims, 423,734 Americans applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for workers such as the self-employed, the Department of Labor said. This number is not adjusted for seasonal swings.

Added together, first-time claims totaled 1.4 million on an unadjusted basis last week.

Continued jobless claims, which count workers who have applied for aid for at least two weeks in a row, fell to 5.1 million.

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