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New jobless claims total 881,000 for week, a lower figure than expected

Because of a change the Labor Department's methodology, this week's number is not directly comparable to last week's unemployment figure.

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unemployment
State of Michigan Unemployment Agency office
(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: September 3, 2020 - 8:44am

First-time unemployment insurance claims dropped to 881,000 this week, falling below 1 million for only the second time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists were anticipating a figure around 950,000. However, this week's figure is not directly comparable to last week's unemployment number, because the Department of Labor has modified its methodology for seasonal adjustments of the data.

As unemployment numbers have hovered at around 1 million for the past many weeks, other economic indicators look positive. On Wednesday, the Dow rose more than 450 points, closing at 29,000 for the first time since late February. 

Friday's government unemployment report for the month of August will provide a fuller picture of how the U.S. job market is faring as the nation continues pandemic recovery.