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Weekly unemployment number ticked up past 1 million last week

The weekly unemployment number fell below 1 million for the first time since March, two weeks ago

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unemployment
Some U.S. companies are calling back workers as the coronavirus pandemic flattens
(OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: August 20, 2020 - 9:54am

Filings for first-time, federal unemployment benefits rose to 1.1 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The increase follows weeks of declining unemployment claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that has throttled large sectors of the U.S. and global economy. 

First-time weekly claims for unemployment benefits peaked at 7 million in March, when the pandemic started but remain at historic highs. 

Last week's jobless report showed first-time claims falling below 1 million for the first time in 21 weeks.

This week's number was higher than expected, as economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial claims to stay beneath 1 million and even fall by a few thousand. The modest spike arrives as Democrats and Republicans continue to struggle with developing a new coronavirus relief bill. 

The Dow lost 100 points at opening this morning as markets reacted to the new jobless numbers.