U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise to 870,000

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 19 came in at 870,000. Economists polled by Econoday had forecast first-time claims at 880,000.

The previous week was revised up to 864,000 from 860,000.

Jobless claims have stopped declining, a troubling sign of weakness for the labor market.

Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 27. Until a month ago, each subsequent week had seen claims decline. But in late July, the labor market appeared to stall and claims hovered around one million throughout August, a level so high it was never recorded before the pandemic struck. Now it appears they have once again stalled.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs and have been closely watched as a signal for how the pandemic is influencing the economy.