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Food distribution event on Dec. 12 in Orlando. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

787,000 Americans filed for initial jobless claims last week, a decline of 19,000 from the previous week and 41,000 fewer unemployment claims than economists had projected, according to Labor Department data.

Why it matters: It's the lowest weekly figure this month, but the overall level of economic pain experienced across the U.S. during the holiday season remains astonishingly high. Over 19.5 million Americans are claiming benefits across all unemployment programs to close out the year.

Flashback: Approximately 220,000 people filed for initial jobless claims at this time last year.

Driving the news: President Trump signed the $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress. Despite his decision to delay signing the bill over last-minute objections, the Labor Department said this week that it does not expect people claiming certain federal unemployment benefits to experience a lapse in payments.

  • President Trump and Democrats in Congress have pushed the Senate to approve a standalone bill that would boost stimulus checks in the package from $600 to $2,000 per person.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged Wednesday that he does not see a "realistic path to quickly pass" the House-approved measure, saying on the Senate floor: "The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats' rich friends that don't need the help."

Go deeper

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
41 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.