Fewer Americans applied for Employment Insurance

Weekly jobless claims south of the border were lower than expected last week as workers slowly returned to their jobs in the wake of rising coroanvirus cases.

Figures released by the U.S. Labor Department show claims totaled 1.314 million, compared to the 1.39 million expected from economists. The total marked a decrease of 99,000 from a week ago.

Continuing claims fell sharply, dropping 698,000 from a week ago to 18.06 million. The previous week’s total itself was revised down by 530,000. Financial markets had been expecting 18.9 million continuing claims.

Despite the better-than-expected numbers, this marked the 15th consecutive week that initial claims totaled above one million.

The trend of elevated filings for unemployment insurance claims comes just a few weeks ahead of the expiration for enhanced benefits through the CARES Act. Millions of unemployed have been receiving their regular compensation plus $600 per week as compensation for having to stay home through the pandemic.