Weekly unemployment claims jump to 965K — the highest total since late August

Posted at 6:56 AM, Jan 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — 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.