The number of U.S. workers filing for first-time unemployment benefits edged up to 332,000 last week from a pandemic low, a sign that rising COVID-19  infections could be weighing on the economy.

The numbers are an increase from 312,000 the prior week — the lowest weekly claims figure since the pandemic slammed the economy in March 2020.

Jobless claims rose 4,000 in Louisiana, evidence that Hurricane Ida has led to widespread job losses in that state. Ida will likely nick the economy’s growth in the current July-September quarter, though repairs and rebuilding efforts are expected to regain those losses in the coming months. Ida shut down oil refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi about two weeks ago and left more than 1 million homes and businesses without electricity. But Ida’s impact was limited: Applications for jobless aid fell slightly in Mississippi.


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