709,000 Americans seek weekly jobless aid; lowest continued claims filed since March

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment continued to trend downward last week to 709,000, as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest report released by the Labor Department Thursday shows that the number of people filing for jobless benefits declined by 48,000 from the week before.

The report also said the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits declined to nearly 6.8 million from the week before, a drop of 436,000. It’s the lowest figure since March, though still a high level. Continued claims of unemployment benefits reached a peak in May with almost 25 million people.

The rise in coronavirus cases throughout the country threatens to upend improvements made by the economy in recent months.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate, said with rising coronavirus cases and pandemic fatigue, businesses are worried about what is to come.

“With each passing week, many businesses see an extension of diminished revenues, particularly those in the leisure, hospitality and travel spaces,” said Hamrick. “With more restrictions, either from governments or self-imposed by consumers, there’s no let-up in pandemic fatigue.”

The job market has been under pressure since the virus hit and the economy has barely regained half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic since the early spring. U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs in October, a solid pace though far fewer than needed to regain most of the jobs lost to the pandemic recession.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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