For the week ended December 12, the number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment in regular state programs rose on a seasonally adjusted basis to 885,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week.
That was the largest gain in the last three months. A Bloomberg survey of economists had projected 818,000 initial state claims and 5.7 million continuing claims on an adjusted basis.
On an unadjusted basis workers filed 935,000 new claims for state benefits, compared with 956,000 the previous week.
Another 455,000 workers filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for part-time workers, the self-employed, and others ordinarily ineligible for jobless benefits. This program is set to expire at the end of December.
At the end of November, more than 20 million workers were collecting unemployment benefits under state or federal programs, according to Labor Department data.
The latest initial claims survey also coincide with the reference period for the December jobs report. Which means that this week’s increase in new claims will get factored into the December month jobs report due in early January. The economy added just 245,000 jobs in November, less than half the number added in October.