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Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than a million people filed for traditional unemployment benefits last week for the first time since July, further highlighting the impact the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic is having on the U.S. economy.

By the numbers: Including those who filed for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, more than 1.4 million Americans filed claims last week, an increase of more than 231,000 filing traditional claims and more than 123,000 filing for PUA support from the previous week, according to the unadjusted data.

  • It was the second week in a row claims had increased for both programs, reversing an overall downtrend in jobless claims filings.

Why it matters: The numbers come on the heels of the government's December jobs report, which showed the U.S. lost 140,000 positions that month.

  • “The rise and level of new unemployment claims is shocking,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, told Yahoo Finance Thursday.
  • “This reminds us that the economic crisis has not gone away, far from it, at a time when multiple crises have been vying for our attention.”

Watch this space: The spike in traditional claims since the first week of December has come as PUA applications have decreased, suggesting the layoffs are not entirely pandemic related.

  • Similarly, the loss of jobs at large companies shown by the ADP private payrolls report last month pointed to big companies looking to reduce headcount rather than small and midsized businesses being forced to shutter because of the virus.

The big picture: While the market is looking through the data to the second and third quarters when growth is expected to return, the weak data for December has even bullish analysts writing down their expectations for Q4 2020 and for the first quarter this year.

Go deeper

Federal watchdog finds lack of data, resources impede COVID response

A patient rests in a COVID-19 care site in a parking garage at Renown Regional Medical Center, Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 16. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

National data on COVID-19 testing is incomplete, "critical gaps in the medical supply chain" remain, and a lack of data has stalled delivering key resources to people who need it most, a nonpartisan federal watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), has found.

Why it matters: The findings come as the rise of more contagious variants ensures that Americans’ risk remains high, despite a three-week decline in the number of COVID infections in the U.S. A greater number of people are also dying from the coronavirus over less time.

Updated 6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker