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New jobless claims total 709K in first week of November

New jobless claims total 709K in first week of November
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More than 700,000 Americans filed their first applications for unemployment insurance last week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.

In the week ending Nov. 7, a seasonally adjusted 709,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims, a decline of 48,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 751,000. Economists had expected a total of roughly 725,000 claims last week.

The number of claims unadjusted for seasonal changes totaled 723,105 last week, falling by 20,799 from the previous week’s level.

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Another 298,154 Americans also filed their first claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program created to help contractors, gig workers and others who do not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance, a decline of 63,805 from the previous week.

The new data marks another week of a slow but largely steady decline in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for the first time since losing work. While initial jobless claims have fallen sharply from their peak in spring, they remain almost three times as high as pre-pandemic levels. There were just 238,996 initial claims during the same time in 2019.

With less than two months left in 2020, the White House and Congress are facing a dwindling timeline to approve and extend more aid for unemployed workers set to lose benefits at the end of the year.

There were more than 21 million Americans on some form of jobless aid as of Oct. 24, more than 4 million of which are depending on an extension of benefits passed through the CARES Act that will expire on Dec. 31.

Both Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Andrew Yang condemns attacks against Asian Americans Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Senate Democrats near deal to reduce jobless boost to 0 MORE (R-Ky.) have voiced a desire to pass another coronavirus relief and stimulus bill before the next presidential inauguration. But Democrats and Republicans remain deeply divided over the size of the bill, aid to state and local government and child-related tax credits.