States reported that 965,000 U.S. workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Jan. 9, against a backdrop of elevated coronavirus caseloads, renewed business restrictions and surging layoffs. That’s an increase of 181,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits rose to 5.2 million. More than 18 million people are receiving some type of unemployment aid.
Economists expect a labor-market rebound as vaccines are distributed more widely, but caution that the employment outlook could get worse before it gets better.
The relief package signed at the end of last year reauthorized extended jobless benefits for millions of people and includes a $300-per-week supplement through March 14 for those receiving unemployment aid.