Last week’s initial jobless claims soared to 861,000, despite more states and cities lifting restrictive business measures amid a decline in the number of coronavirus cases. Economists had predicted around 773,000 first-time claims for the week ended Feb. 13. Data for the previous week was revised up to 848,000 from 793,000.
“Total initial claims broke their three-week streak of declining numbers,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. “The movement of this number is going in the wrong direction, and at 6.7 times higher than the pre-Covid era, magnitude also remains a problem.”