Jobless claims increase slightly, as states, cities tighten coronavirus restrictions on businesses

Before the virus hit the U.S. hard in mid-March, weekly unemployment claims were roughly 225,000.

Updated: November 25, 2020 - 12:24pm

The number of U.S. workers who filed first-time unemployment benefits last week increased slightly to 778,000, amid signs that the U.S. economy continues to face challenges as coronavirus cases increase in colder weather and state and cities tighten restrictions on dining and other activities.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that last week's jobless claims were up from 748,000 in the previous week. The report follows the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday reaching a record high of 30,000 — a sign that investors have a more optimistic, long-term view about the pandemic's impact on the economy, with several vaccines on the way.

Before the virus struck hard in mid-March, weekly claims were roughly 225,000. They increased to 6.9 million during one week in March before dropping, yet remain historically high more than eight months later, with many businesses unable to fully reopen, according to the Associated Press.