US weekly jobless claims rise to 770K

Unemployment claims in the US last week increased to 770,000, indicating the disruption in the labour market recovery, the Labour Department reported.

In the week ending March 13, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 45,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 725,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the Department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The report also revealed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending March 6 decreased by 18,000 to reach 4.1 million, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending February 27 decreased by 1.9 million to 18.2 million, as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.

The unemployment claims report was released a day after the Federal Reserve said it decided to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero.

At a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell noted that the economic recovery remains “uneven and far from complete”, and the path ahead remains “uncertain”.

In the labour market, conditions “have turned up” recently, but employment is still 9.5 million below its pre-pandemic level, he noted, adding that unemployment rate remains elevated at 6.2 percent in February.