The number of U.S. workers filing first-time unemployment claims last week was 745,000, an increase of roughly 9,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Economists say the increase signals U.S. employers continue to lay off employees, despite the decline in coronavirus numbers and the economy slowly reopening amid the drop.
"The source of all labor market damage continues to be COVID-19," said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab. "Increased vaccine distribution is promising, since the public health situation must improve for there to be a full economic recovery. When we completely return to 'normal' is still unknown."
Currently, 4.3 million Americans are on unemployment, and about 18 million people in the country are collecting jobless aid of some kind, according to the Associated Press.
In Texas, unemployment applications rose by nearly 18,000 following the winter storm that resulted in freezing weather and power outages.