The number of Americans filing initial weekly jobless claims totaled 787,000 last week, as consumers and businesses continue to navigate restrictive measures amid a rapid increase in coronavirus infections.

After a grueling year of job losses, economists had predicted a total of 835,000 claims for the week ended Dec. 26, an increase from the previous week’s revised tally of 806,000.

Despite new vaccines and the passage of a federal emergency aid package, new applications for unemployment benefits remain at four times that of the pre-pandemic average — but well below the March peak of almost 7 million claims.


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