US weekly unemployment claims increase to 742,000

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FILE – This May 7, 2020, file photo shows a man wearing a mask while walking under a Now Hiring sign at a CVS Pharmacy during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. On Thursday, Nov. 12, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, the fourth straight drop and a sign that the job market is slowly healing. The figures coincide with a sharp resurgence in confirmed viral infections to an all-time high above 120,000 a day. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The number of Americans filing for unemployment rose slightly last week to 742,000, the first increase in more than a month.

The latest report released by the Labor Department Thursday shows that the number of people filing for jobless benefits in the U.S. increased by 31,000 from the week before.

Claims had soared to 6.9 million in March when the coronavirus pandemic first intensified. Before the pandemic, applications typically hovered about 225,000 a week.

The report also detailed the number of people who were continuing to receive jobless benefits declined to nearly 6.4 million, a drop of 429,000 from the previous week.

The increase in unemployment claims comes as virus cases are increasing around the country. On Sunday, more than 11 million cases of the coronavirus had been reported in the United States, with the most recent million coming in less than a week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate, said despite the possibility of an uptick in sales because of the upcoming holidays, businesses are prepping for the unique demands ahead.

“We’re in the midst of a holiday season like none experienced before, thoroughly affected by the pandemic. Brick-and-mortar retail sales are set to decline compared to last year, while online sales will surge,” said Hamrick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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