Sudden surge in US jobless claims as more need long-term aid

Applications for US state unemployment benefits unexpectedly jumped last week and more Americans moved to longer-term aid, underscoring a recent slowing in the pace of the labor market’s recovery.

Initial jobless claims in regular state programs totaled 898 000 in the week ended 10 October, up 53 000 from the prior week, Labour Department data showed Thursday. Continuing claims — the total number of Americans claiming ongoing unemployment assistance in those programs — fell 1.17 million to 10 million in the week ended 3 October.

Unadjusted claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, the federal program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of jobless benefits for people who exhaust state aid, rose by 818 054 to 2.78 million in the week ended 26 September.

Like in the prior two reports, California’s initial claims number remained frozen at the mid-September level despite the ending of its two-week pause in accepting new claims. A spokesperson for the Labor Department said the data will continue to reuse the prior number until California’s reporting normalizes in the wake of the pause.

— With assistance from Edith Moy.

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