Weekly jobless claims rise more than expected in final week of June


People line up outside Kentucky Career Center prior to its opening to find assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S. June 18, 2020.

Bryan Woolston | Reuters

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rose more than expected last week as a resurgent coronavirus added pressure to the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims rose by 1.427 million. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected a rise of 1.38 million for the week ending June 27. 

In a separate report, the Labor Department said 4.8 million jobs were added in June, but that survey was taken in the middle of the month and likely doesn’t reflect the reopening pauses and rollbacks of some states recently. Stock futures jumped as investors chose to focus on the much better than expected monthly report.

This marked the 15th straight week in which initial claims remained above 1 million.

“Don’t expect this to fall that much until the very generous unemployment benefits expire in its current form on July 31st,” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said in a note. 

At the state level, Indiana saw a spike of 24,033 initial claims. In Virginia and Washington, claims rose by 7,769 and 8,110, respectively.

Initial claims in Oklahoma dropped by more than 41,000 last week while Maryland and New Jersey saw declines of more than 5,900.

The data also showed the number of continuing claims — the number of people receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks — rose to 19.29 million, an increase of about 59,000.

Thursday’s data release comes as some states roll back their reopenings amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the U.S. on Wednesday, a single-day record. 

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