First-time claims for jobless benefits showed an unexpected jump to 770,000 as the labor market tries to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic that sent more than 22 million Americans to the unemployment line a year ago, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a total of 700,000 for the week ended March 13. The total represented an increase from the previous week’s upwardly revised 725,000.

The report came amid hopes that the U.S. jobs market is showing real recovery signs from the coronavirus crisis, which saw huge swaths of the economy shut down or curtail activity and has been particularly burdensome to those working in services-related jobs.

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