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US Unemployment Claims Jump To 965,000 As Virus Takes Toll

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Andrew Walcott, owners of Fusion East Caribbean & Soul Food restaurant, poses for a photo at the restaurant in East New York neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Walcott had to furlough four employees at his restaurant just before Christmas, after New York state stopped allowing indoor dining. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and evidence that the resurgent virus has caused a spike in layoffs.

The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. Before the pandemic, weekly applications typically numbered around 225,000.

Last spring, after nationwide shutdowns took effect, applications for jobless benefits spiked to nearly 7 million — 10 times the previous record high. After declining over the summer, weekly claims have been stuck above 700,000 since September.

 

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