A separate Commerce Department report showed US household spending rose in October but incomes dropped by more than forecast, owing in large part to a decline in government supplemental jobless benefits. That was down by less than 400 from the week before.
Nationally, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week for a second straight week to 778,000, evidence that the USA economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks, The Associated Press reported. The savings rate fell for a sixth month.
Unemployment claims dropped from a record 6.867 million in March as about 80% of the people temporarily laid off in March and April were rehired, accounting for most of the rebound in job growth over the last six months.
The report cited 778,000 claims for the week ending November 21, a five-week high.
As of November 7, the most recent data available, a total of 13.7 million people were receiving unemployment benefits through emergency CARES Act-related programs expiring December 26.More news: Agudath Israel, Catholic Diocese, Win Supreme Court Appeal Against Gov. Cuomo
Despite encouraging developments on vaccines, spiraling Covid-19 infections and expectations for a smaller stimulus package have prompted economists to sharply downgrade their GDP growth forecasts for the first quarter of 2021.
The job market faces additional hurdles as states and cities restrict business activity and hospitalizations spike.
"With infections continuing to rise at an elevated pace and curbs on business operations widening, layoffs are likely to pick up over coming weeks", she said in an analysis.
Even though the unemployment rate has decreased in recent months, reaching 6.9 percent in October, Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics warned that weekly data shows a labor market under stress.
US durable goods orders increased at a faster-than-expected clip in October, helped by demand for computers and metals, underscoring a manufacturing sector that continues to support the economy.More news: Add A ‘0’ Prefix For Landline To Mobile Calls From January 1
USA stocks edged lower along with 10-year Treasury yields, while the dollar fluctuated.
For the week of November 7, the number of people collecting benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program - which offers coverage to gig workers and others who don't qualify for traditional aid - rose by 466,000 to 9.1 million. Yet the nation still has about 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic erupted. Those two programs will expire at year-end, leaving many without government aid.
New-home sales in the USA remained brisk in October, staying near the best pace since 2006 and well above pre-pandemic levels, the latest sign that record-low mortgage rates are underpinning robust buyer interest.
In a separate report on Wednesday, the Commerce Department confirmed the economy's historic pace of expansion in the third quarter.
-With assistance from Jordan Yadoo, Edith Moy, Sophie Caronello, Jeff Kearns and Ana Monteiro.More news: Photos of packed USA airports show how Americans are defying CDC guidance