Weekly Jobless Claims Top Estimates

More signs Thursday morning the U.S. economy may have shifted into reverse. Figures released by the U.S. Labor Department showed weekly jobless claims south of the border totaled 742,000, as opposed to an estimate of 710,000.

That total also represented an acceleration from the previous week’s total of 709,000 and a continuation of the job market struggles since the coronavirus pandemic hit in early March.

With coronavirus infection rates hitting record daily highs and a new wave of lockdowns and school closures sweeping the country, the labour market in the U.S. clearly faces an unsteady path to recovery.

In the last four weeks there has been a 42% increase in the number of Covid-19 fatalities, from a weekly average of 821 per day in early October to last week’s average of 1,167 per day.

Even with news of two promising vaccines, the consumer spending that powers the nation's economic growth could shrivel amid extended business closures.

While the holiday season traditionally brings enormous sales volume for retailers, restaurants, and movie theaters, many are facing a challenging season. Travel is at a near-standstill, consumers' wallets are already tightly squeezed, and extended pandemic unemployment assistance is set to expire by the end of December.