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First-time jobless claims rise, amid restrictions on businesses to slow COVID spread

Last week's number was the highest since mid-August

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Updated: January 14, 2021 - 10:09am

The number of first-time federal unemployment claims last week was 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week's revised level, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.7 percent for the week ending January 2, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Last week’s jobless number was the highest level since mid-August and indicates the impact that the latest round of business restrictions, as a result of the re-surging coronavirus, has had on the U.S. economy.

Among the hardest hit sectors are the restaurant and hospitality industries, as states try to limit visitors and indoor dining to slow the spread of the virus. Coronavirus-related numbers declined through the summer, then spiked as fall approached and people moved indoors. The holiday season, with travel and visiting family and friends, also has contributed to the increase in numbers.