Weekly unemployment filings rise to 742,000 as virus surges

The weekly tally has remained elevated for seven months.

November 19, 2020, 8:57 AM

Some 742,000 workers filed for unemployment insurance last week, an uptick of more than 30,000 compared to the previous week, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

Weekly jobless claims have remained elevated for months but were on the decline for the past four weeks. Thursday's tally reversed the downward trend.

The rise in this week's figure comes amid a new surge in virus cases across the nation. On Wednesday, the U.S. surpassed the grim milestone of more than 250,000 virus deaths, the highest of any nation in the world.

The government also said Thursday that more than 20.3 million people are still claiming some form of unemployment assistance through all government programs for the week ending Oct. 31. There were 1.5 million people claiming benefits during the same time period last year.

States that saw the largest increases in weekly jobless claims for the week ending Nov. 7 were Washington, California and Massachusetts. States that saw the largest decreases were Georgia, Illinois and Kentucky.

Businesses have struggled to reopen and many are being forced to re-shutter as cases surge and governors impose additional lockdowns.

Every single week for the past seven months, the jobless claims tally from the DOL has shattered the pre-pandemic weekly record set in 1982.