803,000 Americans file first-time jobless claims in week before Christmas
The U.S. Department of Labor reported 803,000 initial unemployment claims last week, a drop of 89,000 from the week prior.
Why it matters: The number of Americans on unemployment benefits remains high, though the figures released Wednesday were lower than the 888,000 that economists had expected.
Driving the news: The report comes a day after President Trump suggested he may not sign Congress' $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, potentially delaying desperately needed aid for millions of Americans.
- The bill includes an extension of two pandemic-related unemployment programs, used by 14 million Americans, that expire on Dec. 26.
- 397,511 people filed for benefits last week under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides subsidies to those who aren't normally eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Trump's threat runs the risk of worsening the country's economic recovery and increases the chances of a government shutdown during the pandemic.
The bottom line: Although the number of unemployment claims was less than expected, it is another sign that the country's job recovery still has a long way to go to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
- According to the Labor Department, there were 287,243 initial claims for the same week last year.