The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time in nearly four months, suggesting the labor market was stalling amid a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases and depressed demand.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased to a seasonally adjusted 1.416 million for the week ended July 18, from 1.307 million in the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the first weekly rise in applications since the week ending March 28, when claims raced to a record 6.867 million as nonessential businesses like restaurants and gyms were shuttered to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 1.30 million applications in the latest week.


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