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US jobless claims up for 2nd straight week as virus worsens

pedestrian walking past building

(200508) -- NEW YORK, May 8, 2020 (Xinhua) -- A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past the New York State Department of Labor office in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on May 8, 2020. New data showed that U.S. employers cut a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, erasing a decade of job gains since the global financial crisis and pushing the unemployment rate to a record 14.7 percent. While this marks the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression, analysts said the figure does not capture the full scale of the COVID-19-induced job crisis, and the worst is yet to come. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua) (Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week for a second straight week to 778,000. This as the US economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks.

The Labor Department’s report Wednesday said that jobless claims climbed from 748,000 the week before. Before the virus struck hard in mid-March, weekly claims typically amounted to only about 225,000.

They shot up to 6.9 million during one week in March before dropping, yet they remain historically high more than eight months later, with many businesses unable to fully reopen.

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