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Initial jobless claims rose to 965,000 in the past week, according to data released today by the Department of Labor. This figure is far higher than economists’ estimates of 800,000 claims, and marks the largest IJC total since August 22nd, 2020.

Ten months into the pandemic, the U.S. economy still has around 10 million jobs to recover, the unemployment rate remains at 6.7 percent and almost 19 million Americans are still claiming some form of unemployment benefit.

"The race between vaccine distribution and mounting labor market damage continues," said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. "Even once vaccine distribution starts making a real dent in case numbers, it will still be a long road to a full economic recovery…Collectively, it may take many months to see the ranks of the long-term unemployed drastically shrink. As the pandemic drags on, so does the deep economic pain felt by millions.”

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